|Date of Birth
|Place of Birth
Aasif Mandvi (Aasif Mandviwala) was born March 5, in Mumbai (Bombay), India. His family immigrated to Bradford, England when he was about a year old. He began acting there at a young age—his first role was as a pixie in a school play—and he joined a local children's theatre troupe where he wrote and performed.While in England, Aasif attended what he has described as a "cold, conservative all-boys school," and had some early encounters with racist taunts and bullying. As he has explained, this "can make you have contempt for your own race, your otherness . . . . You try even harder to fit in. You aspire to be integrated." These experiences have influenced the choices Aasif has made throughout his career as both playwright and actor. (source)
Aasif's family immigrated again—to Tampa, Florida—when he was a teenager. He continued to perform in school productions throughout high school, and earned a theatre scholarship to the University of South Florida. After leaving school, he worked as a performer at Disney MGM Studios before moving to New York.
Aasif has had a busy career since then, with several small roles in television and film and in numerous Off-Broadway productions. In 1998, his big breakthrough came with his Obie-winning one man show, Sakina's Restaurant, which is based on his family's immigrant experience. This production led directly to his being cast in the title role of The Mystic Masseur, Ismail Merchant's film adaptation of V. S. Naipaul's first novel. Aasif is also widely credited as the first South Asian to play Ali Hakim, the Persian traveling salesman, on Broadway in Trevor Nunn's 2002 Oklahoma! revival.
Aasif has also become known for roles of a more political nature since 9/11, most notably on stage in Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul and in the docudrama Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, a part which he explains has changed his thinking about the role of theatre in public life. Since August 2006, he has also been making appearances on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, frequently covering issues concerning the Middle East.
Currently, Aasif is appearing as a regular correspondent on The Daily Show, and also in recurring roles on Jericho (CBS) and recently on ER (NBC). He is also in the film Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.