American actor Kal Penn has played a whole bunch of roles, and he will soon be seen in an upcoming movie produced by Guneet Monga, one of the people behind the 2013 sleeper hit The Lunchbox. But Penn cannot emerge from under the influence of Kumar Patel, the stoner hero of the Harold & Kumar movies.
Penn is in India to shoot The Ashram, a thriller set in Manali. “Those of you who are fans of Harold & Kumar should definitely pay Manali a visit,” Penn said during a recent event in Delhi.
Penn has played Lawrence Kutner in the television series House and Gogol in Mira Nair's The Namesake, but his favourite character remains Kumar Patel. “Kumar is the epitome of cool – the kind that I can never ever hope to be in my real life,” he said.
The comedies starring Penn and John Cho as Asian-Americans who embark on madcap adventure while being stoned most of the time landed Penn the role of Gogol in The Namesake, he said. Nair’s 12-year-old son campaigned for Penn by showing her clips from the movies. “When she saw the clips, she realised he was completely the wrong candidate,” Penn said. “But then I wrote her a letter telling her how she had been one of his role models when he was growing up and how desperately he wanted the role of Gogol. She gave me a shot because she liked the letter – and because of her son!” Here are some clips that prove that Penn is our favourite Bong on the planet.