08 October, 2015

#BookReview :: Yes, My Accent Is Real by Kunal Nayyar

Of all the charming misfits on television, there’s no doubt Raj from The Big Bang Theory — the sincere yet incurably geeky Indian-American astrophysicist — ranks among the misfittingest. Now, we meet the actor who is every bit as loveable as the character he plays on TV. In this revealing collection of essays written in his irreverent, hilarious, and self-deprecating voice, Kunal Nayyar traces his journey from a little boy in New Delhi who mistakes an awkward first kiss for a sacred commitment, gets nosebleeds chugging Coca-Cola to impress other students, and excels in the sport of badminton, to the confident, successful actor on the set of TV’s most-watched sitcom since Friends.

Going behind the scenes of The Big Bang Theory and into his personal experiences, Kunal introduces readers to the people who helped him grow, such as his James Bond-loving, mustachioed father who taught him the most important lessons in life: Treat a beggar as you would a king. There are two sides to every story. A smile goes a long way. And, when in doubt, use a spreadsheet. Kunal also walks us through his college years in Portland, where he takes his first sips of alcohol and learns to let loose with his French, 6’8” gentle-giant roommate, works his first-ever job for the university’s housekeeping department cleaning toilets for minimum wage, and begins a series of romantic exploits that go just about as well as they would for Raj. (That is, until he meets and marries a former Miss India in an elaborate seven-day event that we get to experience in a chapter titled “My Big Fat Indian Wedding.”)

Full of heart, but never taking itself too seriously, this witty and often inspiring collection of underdog tales follows a young man as he traverses two continents in search of a dream, along the way transcending culture and language (and many, many embarrassing incidents) to somehow miraculously land the role of a lifetime.


Okay I have a disclaimer at the very beginning! I am not one of the ‘fans’ of The Big Bang Theory. I mean, of course I know about the tv show and I have actually watched quite a few episodes but I do not watch it every week religiously. If there’s nothing else to do, I just might watch another episode – and it is because of Raj (Kunal Nayyar) It is not every day that you get to see an Indian playing one of lead characters on an international series (Okay so Priyanka Chopra is making waves – but only recently).  So, the book piqued my interest as I wanted to know about his experience.

This book may be autobiographical, but is far from an autobiography. In his own words “This is a collection of stories from my life." And a collection of stories it is! From talking about business management courses to acting classes, from cleaning toilets to working in an IT firm, from crushes to love, from kissing to wedding, from sports to tv series, from traditions to lectures, Kunal Nayyar talks about it all. Each chapter from this book could be in fact counted as a chapter in his life. The way he cares it all makes you believe in the book – which it in fact full of facts rather than fiction.

Kunal Nayyar catches your attention with his with right from the preface of the book and doesn’t let go till the end. The way he has narrated these stories makes you like him instantly. He has managed to maintain a balance in his narration where nothing feels exaggerated nor embellished. The best part of it all is the way he has delivered it all with a pinch of wit which is sometime even self-deprecating. His voice feels humble and honest throughout. And yes, his accent is real ;)


Review Copy received from Simon and Schuster

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