It doesn’t matter if you’re desi or not, Harish Patel was definitely the best part of Eternals. His character, Karun Patel won hearts across the world and there is a reason behind it – he was unapologetically Indian.
In an industry where Indians are constantly stereotyped and expected to have an accent, speak fluent English and look like ‘one of them’, Harish Patel broke the mould.
His dialogues in Hindi didn’t have an American accent, instead, he was as Indian as they get, and nobody tried to put on a tikka and make him wear a kurta in the film. He prayed at a Hindu funeral pyre, thanked the Eternals for trying to save humanity – in Hindi and spoke in English without trying to sound foreign, because why would he?
Unlike many other token Indian characters we see on-screen, Harish’s Karun wasn’t a blink and miss performance. He was in almost every scene that Kingo was a part of, except the fight sequences. And to think that out of all the humans in the world who could have kept their secret and been a part of their team, it was this one Indian man – that makes his character pretty special.
In an interview, Harish shared that he told the cast beforehand during a reading that he wasn’t good at English and not very fluent, and they all smiled at him. Because that didn’t matter, he was playing an Indian after all and he shouldn’t need to know English to communicate, a fact that Harish has proven time and again with his various roles in the American and British movie industry.
All in Good Time, Run Fatboy Run, My Son the Fanatic, The Buddha of Suburbia, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Coronation Street, Mr Stink, Gangsta Granny, The Driver, The Boy in the Dress, Mapp and Lucia, Billionaire Boy and Four Weddings and a Funeral are just some of the foreign films and TV shows that Harish Patel has been a part of. And we’re so glad that after being in international projects for over 20 years, he is finally getting the recognition he deserves.