NEW YORK – Pakistani-American stand-up comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani’s “The Big Sick” has been nominated in the “original screenplay” category for the 90th Academy Awards, a first for an Asian.
Nanjiani co-wrote the film with his then girlfriend and now wife Emily Gordon and is based on their own story, according to geo.tv.
“The Big Sick” explores Nanjiani’s cultural conflict as a Pakistani Muslim comedian in a post-9/11 America and goes onto show how complicated his life becomes when he falls in love with Gordon, going against his family’s wish to marry a Pakistani woman.
Nanjiani’s family also struggles with his decision to pursue comedy as a career while they try to arrange a suitable marriage for him but are unaware that he is secretly dating Gordon, who unexpectedly falls into a coma with an undiagnosed illness.
The film stars Nanjiani himself along with Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Zenobia Shroff and Anupam Kher.
“The film was released in the US “at a time when there’s a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment, there’s a lot of Islamophobia. By depicting a Muslim family as like normal people, that’s its big political statement. It’s important for kids to see themselves in the stuff they watch. But more than that, I think it’s important that people from different points of view are behind the camera telling the stories, writing them, directing them,” Nanjiani told Reuters.
Nanjiani, 39, was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to the U.S. at the age of 18 to attend Grinnell College in Iowa, from which he graduated in 2001, he was earlier known for playing the snarky programmer named Dinesh in HBO’s comedy “Silicon Valley.”