on screen | May 16, 2011

30 Rock's Maulik Pancholy on Hollywood's Portrayal of Diversity

In this exclusive Lavin video,
Maulik Pancholy discusses how his role as Jonathan on 30 Rock signals a positive change in Hollywood’s depiction of diversity. Though his character is clearly Indian, his Indianess is “not what’s being explored.” Pancholy then discusses his role as Baljeet—on Phineas and Ferb—to further illustrate the degree of sophistication that creators and actors are bringing to the entertainment industry. Smarter shows (such as 30 Rock), smarter audiences (who demand to see more diversity on-screen) and a wave of multicultural actors and creatives (who are finally in powerful positions) have produced a perfect  storm—helping to usher out an era of broad stereotypes, and inaugurate a new era in which “the whole story is told.”

Maulik Pancholy is a Yale MFA and SAG Award-winning actor who stars as Jonathan on 30 Rock and Sanjay on Weeds. He’s appeared on various other shows, including Law and Order and The Sopranos, and he also gives keynote speeches to university audiences. Recognizing that the roles he’s played mirror Hollywood’s growing inclusiveness, Pancholy uses his career to show us how far the industry has come in embracing diverse characters—and how much has changed since his early days, when he was asked, constantly, to "do the accent”

Read more about diversity speaker Maulik Pancholy

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