Interview with Vik Sahay

Do you watch “Chuck”? That TV show about the secret, CIA-protected life of a tech dork who works the Nerd Herd desk at a Best Buy like electronics store? The first season was cute, the second sort of lost me, then they got Scott Bakula to play his dad and I’m hooked again. (Quantum Leap forever!)

One of the more amusing aspects of the show is that Chuck’s real world life at the Nerd Herd desk is as drama-filled as his intelligence/espionage secret life — courtesy of a scheming nemesis, Lester, played by desi actor Vik Sahay. vicsahay3-200x200.jpg

It’s a small role, but Sahay really owns it, milking every line for humor and dimensionality. So when MTV Iggy interviewed him, we vaguely thought he would be this, like, funny cocky guy and we’d edit it down to the best 2-3 bits. We certainly had no idea it would turn out to be one of the most searching, intelligent, thought-provoking interviews I’ve seen in years.

We ended up cutting something like 14 segments because all of it was interesting. That’s a ridiculous number, by the way. No one’s ever gotten that much play. Six clips were aired while we try to figure out what to do with the rest.

Anyway, you should just watch to see what I’m talking about. And if you only watch just one, it should be this segment about his first trip to India, to film the movie Amal:

MTV IggyA Stranger in the Motherland: "This Is a Major Part of What Courses Through My Veins"
Vik Sahay

It’s so not your typical actor BS, it’s almost shocking. He dives into what it’s like to be born in the west and then return to the country of your parents in a way that’s so eloquent, so hits-the-nail-on-the-head, so…anyway, see for yourself.

If you want to watch more –

Stuff about the show:

MTV IggyAsian Tech Dorks Unite!
Vik Sahay

Being an “ethnic” actor in hollywood:

MTV IggyEthnic Casting 101
Vik Sahay

Acting, taking roles, self-awareness:

MTV Iggy"I'm Built Like A Little Girl!"
Vik Sahay

Why do ethnic groups band together? “Misery loves company”:

MTV Iggy"Bring Your Soul To It"
Vik Sahay

Slumdog is a reality, and despite how other other desis might want to distance themselves from the poverty porn, “this is the way we’re coming in”:

MTV IggyBeyond Gurus and Doctors: "This Is the Way We're Coming In"
Vik Sahay

In case you’re wondering, the interviewer is our Exec. Producer. The scheduled interviewer flaked on us big time, so he had to step in. This was also in LA, so after a long winter in NY, Lem tanned like crazy…just wanted to explain the red-and-yellow coloring. Lindsey Lohan didn’t attack him with her bronzer. Actually, that only explains the tanning. I have no excuse for the hair.

14 thoughts on “Interview with Vik Sahay

  1. you watch “Chuck”? That TV show about the secret, CIA-protected life of a tech dork who works the Nerd Herd desk at a Best Buy like electronics store? The first season was cute, the second sort of lost me, then they got Scott Bakula to play his dad and I’m hooked again.

    The first series was quite funny; the second sagged a bit, though some of the episodes were good. Levi’s geekiness gets more hammed up and cheesy; but Yvonne Strahovski grew one me, despite my personal antipathy towards blondes in general (I think it was the teeth, if she had a pair of typical Yank pearly-whites, I would be right off her!) and KC is hilarious. They haven’t gotten to the Scott Bakula episodes yet in the UK, so that is something to look forward to; though I was still a kid when Quantum Leap finished.

    Sahay does a good job and I am always glad to see Indian actors get some exposure, (especially a Bihari babu!); some of this balanced against the fact that it is yet again a nerdy-geek role which most American films/TV shows seem to slot Indian actors in; but in a series where half the cast are geeks/nerds this is perhaps understandable. Didn’t know about Amal, await that one with interest.

  2. Interesting remarks on Canada and the UK differing from America in being more accepting of ethnics; I would expect the opposite.

    Can anyone else corroborate?

  3. Hmm, well as a canadian living in the US, it kinda rings true to me (can’t comment on the UK, which has had its share of racial tension and violence), .. but… it varies. a lot. my experience growing up was pretty close to that idyllic multicultural scenario canadian policy espouses and that Vik alluded to; but I know that many experience varying degrees of ethnic segregation/racism and other difficulties. Things like class, education and income levels obviously play a role here. but, in my experience, Canada is perhaps the most immigration-friendly place in the world (though, as I said, there are many flaws, problems and issues). It takes in the most immigrants per capita of any country (or at least did, as of a few years ago).

    I suppose the larger point here is that ethnic relations in America have historically been considered along the black-white axis (with latinos now changing that), whereas canada’s experience with large non-white minorities (in the modern era) is tilted pretty heavily to immigrants from east, and south asia. And its getting to be quite a diverse mix in the main canadian cities. At the same time, canada like the US, is far more amenable to immigration and immigrants compared to european countries that have long histories as nation-states tied to ethnicity.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a canadian PM of south asian origin sometime in the next few decades.

  4. Still in the middle of watching these, but wanted to throw in another vote for Amal, which is a terrific film. Saw it last year when Richie Mehta and I were both at SALTAF—see it if you can! And Sahay is wonderful in it.

  5. I have to second (or third?) the comments re: Canada and Immigration. Canada has always been more progressive when it comes to immigration and multiculturalism (although, of course, there are some problems). The major exception would be Quebec (not including Montreal), which is perpetually afraid of having their own culture erased.

    The more brown guys on tv the better. The ever hilarious Ansari on Parks and Recreation doesn’t fit the nerd role, nor does the funny Kaling from The Office. However, the new nerdy brown guy on Community was pretty damn funny and the brown geek on Big Bang Theory is not bad either.

  6. I remember this guy from the Canadian teen sitcom Radioactive. He was quite funny on that show.

    And he’s right on ‘Amal’ not being Bollywood. It’s a Canadian production, like ‘The Warrior’ (also in hindi) was British.

  7. Holy smokes! Although I’m always happy to see desi actors and watch Chuck, Vik Sahay’s ethnicity never really sank in. I guess he really did succeed in projecting his character over his race.

    I think I’ll enjoy watching him in Chuck a lot more now. He’s gone from random goofball to thoughtful actor in my mind.

  8. Interesting interview! He’s very intense, very sharp and very passionate. Love it. And for some reason, he looks a bit like Kal Penn. Something about the eyebrows, the eyes, and the smile.

    I was moved when he talked about his first experience in India – it was definitely shocking to see him getting emotional about it.

    1. He is Kal Penn in a wig, no doubt.
    2. This guy takes himself way too seriously – there’s no way he’s Canadian. Dude, lighten up.
    3. I’m curious why he waited till now for his first trip back to India? As integrated as Indians are in Canada didn’t he ever want to see India with his own eyes? (pardon me if he had economic limitations to travel back prior to this opportunity but from his descriptions of growing up this doesn’t seem to be the case).
    4. MTV Iggy – nice interview and thought-provoking but the camera work is a bit jarring, for me as least. All in all, he’s got some insights but needs a Sleeman’s, Alexander Keith’s or Moosehead badly.
  9. You’re right, great interview. Thanks for sharing. I was loving how he gave the interviewer (whose hair was awesome btw) a hard time for the term “Bollywood film.”

  10. Fantastic interrview. And ‘juice’ (#11), you lighten up. The questions were deep, his answers were deep and funny and moving. Go watch some low-brow sitcoms, if all you want is mediocre laughs.

  11. First of all, this was an absolutely brilliant interview; secondly, I completely disagree that Vik’s character on Chuck is geeky or even nerdy. Yes, he works at a computer store, but his character is devilish, strong, seedy, and scheming. He’s actually closer to Ansari’s character in Parks (but Vik’s MUCH better looking!) than the others.