angry reader of the week: sunil malhotra

You know what time it is. It's time to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is actor Sunil Malhotra.

Who are you?
I'm Sunil Malhotra. It's very phonetic - just sound it out. You're doing great! That's wonderful! Now every night, before you go to bed, just say it 10 times. I promise you wonderful dreams.

What are you?
Depending on who you ask - I'm trouble, a nice guy, a prankster, a lover, a fighter, a believer, an atheist, an activist, a lefty, a humanist, a son, an older brother, a husband, an American, a South Asian, some brown guy who looks like he's from... fill in the blank. Seriously. I get told I'm from everywhere! Some drunk girl from Ireland thought I was her cousin... from Ireland. Ha! Mostly it's either somewhere from the Mediterranean (Italian, Spanish, etc), the Middle East (Arab or Israeli), Latino, or even just some white dude with a tan. It can be fun and annoying. Fun because it's nice to be immediately accepted as part of some group (also works great since I'm an actor, but more on that later). Annoying when, for instance, the Indian uncle who works at a certain grocery store in the Pico Blvd. area says, "What?! You're not Indian. No. No. No. No. I said no, yaar! You are not Indian! Oh. Your name is Sunil? Malhotra? Punjabi!? Okay. You're Indian. (pause) Both parents?" Yes. Both parents. I should say I'm Punjabi and Sindhi. And Sindhis are a mix of everything. And both groups are known for their drinking. That works, because I like to have a drink, too. We're like the Scottish and the Irish in terms of drinking. Maybe that's what that drunk Irish girl thought. Anyway...

(Quick tangent: You want to know the one word that the languages of Punjabi and Sindhi share? Here it is: "Johnnie Walker." You are now tri-lingual.)

Where are you?
I'm home. In Los Angeles. But you can always find me here.

Where are you from?
I was born in India. Came to the U.S. - Chicago - when I was 6 months old. The plane almost crashed. I like to make an entrance. Started out in Rogers Park, but grew up mostly in Skokie. Ah, Skokie. If that place sounds familiar, then you should do well in trivia games. It's the place Kevin Spacey mentioned his barbershop quartet was from in The Usual Suspects (love that movie), and also where the neo-Nazis marched to piss off a lot of folks. They made a movie about it. It was aptly called Skokie (with Brian Dennehy, who I also love). Spent some time in Bloomington, Indiana (IU), started out as an actor in New York, where I met the love of my life (who happened to be from Evanston, right next door to Skokie - go figure!), made amazing friends along the way, and now I don't miss winter at all in Los Angeles. Although I do miss the fall. Ah, well...

One day, I would like to say I'm from Italy. I love it there. Just went for the first time last year. Discovered Amarone. If you get the chance, I highly recommend it. Che bello!

What do you do?
I work as an actor. I have to say, I love working. Right now I'm finishing an amazing run of a wonderful new play over at East West Players called A Widow of No Importance It's gotten all kinds of love from audiences and critics, and I'm having a blast working with a fantastic cast. We close October 9. Depending on when you read this, there will only be only 7 or 8 shows left. Come watch and say hi! You'll have a good time. :) Click here for info.

I did a movie last year called Fair Game, directed by Doug Liman, with Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. Got to shoot in Jordan (yes, the locals thought I was local. That was actually fun.). It was awesome! Other movies I've done are Dude, Where's The Party and American Desi. I've done a bunch of TV and theatre, too. Lately, I've gotten into doing voiceovers, which has been all kinds of fun. Some cool recent gigs were playing the sniper Jun in Halo: Reach, the recent 2-part-season finale of Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Abraham Verghese's audiobook, Cutting For Stone. Coming up, I'll be Magneto's son, Quicksilver, in the new X-Men: Destiny videogame and a Bollywood Penguin in Happy Feet Two. Although I haven't in a while, I write and direct when I can.

For the last seven years, I've also served as a mentor to Asian American undergrads through the University of Southern California's Asian Pacific American Student Services' Connections! Program. I also volunteer with South Asian Network, a grassroots community-based organization that works with the South Asian community in southern California on issues ranging from access to healthcare, immigration and human rights, domestic violence issues, LGBTQ rights, and workplace rights.

I also love to sit in a movie theater. If I can do a triple feature, I've had a perfect day.

And read crime novels. Love me some crime. In novels.

What are you all about?
Equality. Justice. Fairness. Empathy.

Whoa. That just flew out of me! It's not like I have that stamped on a wall somewhere. But for me, it really always does come down to that.

Love. Yeah, I'm a lover. What can I say?

Also, I love to tell stories, whether it's a joke to friends, the work I do as an actor, or as a writer. I used to be a musician (trombone and then guitar). I still dabble. Music has and does speak to me because it hits those unsayable emotions that we experience. For me, stories do that, too.

Love to laugh. Ha!

What makes you angry?
All kinds of shit!

The political scene right now really pisses me off. The crazies have taken over the building. And the people who are supposedly not crazy seem very weak-kneed when it comes to affecting true change. Or justice. Without justice, there can be no progress. No progress spiritually, or economically, for that matter. Compromise has become a dirty word, but it seems that Backbone, Courage, and Truth To Power are word and ideas that desperately need to make a comeback, too.
Money in politics. Bad idea. Corporations ARE NOT people!!!

You know what makes me angry? People who say they're going to do something, and then don't do it. And then worse, they don't try to change. I'm not perfect, I've not done what I said I would do plenty of times. Hence I get pissed at myself. Ha! But I try to change that. It's the refusal to change yourself or have any ability to reflect on yourself that pisses me off.

Drivers in LA. What the fuck, people?!?!? Stop creeping into the intersection. Wait. Then go. And pull into the left turn lane. Okay, enough of that.

And that Indian Uncle at the grocery store. Sometimes he gets on my nerve. Ha!

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