Busy Baltimore Actor Continues to ‘Push the Envelope’
3/2/2018, 6 a.m.
Brown Girl Magazine, whose focus is to empower and uplift women, recently highlighted 11 reasons the magazine loves Baltimore actor Utkarsh Ambudkar, a man.
Among them: He can sing. Rap. And act. All at the same time, the magazine’s editors wrote in praise of Ambudkar, who tells the Baltimore Times that he has been busy.
In February, the musical romantic comedy “Basmati Blues” in which Ambudkar starred opposite Brie Larson was released both in theaters and on-demand.
On March 23, 2018, Netflix is scheduled to release, “Game Over, Man!” a film in which Ambudkar co-stars alongside Workaholics’ alum Blake Anderson, Adam Devine and Anders Holm.
“In April, I have a five episode arc on Hank Azaria’s “Brockmire” which airs on IFC. And I’ve got a new album called ‘Vanity’ which is scheduled for an early summer release,” Ambudkar said.
Meanwhile, “Basmati Blues” had been in the making for some time and it was only a matter of time before it hit the big and small screen, he said.
“Anthony Veneziale and I have been working with each other for well over a decade. When he calls, I come. It was a blast to be reunited with old friends and work with new ones,” Ambudkar said.
In the romantic comedy, Larson plays Linda, a scientist who creates genetically modified rice with her father and both are sent off to India to sell the creation to farmers. Linda, falls for Rajit, played by Ambudkar, a college-educated farmer. When Linda discovers that the business deal will destroy the farmer’s life, she and Rajit work frantically to stop it.
“This a magical, improvisational romp that people will love,” said Ambudkar, who also has the new comedy series, “Bartlett.”
The six-part original and streaming series, which debuted January 30, addresses subjects like office politics, gender, race equality and workplace romance, and features Tony Award winner and “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda, Don Reed, and others.
“Bartlett” trails advertising agency bad boy Roger Newhouse, who is having a really rough year. Maggie Knowland, the true brains behind the business success of the newly, formed agency, has left him, and their agency, for Sanjay Kahn (played by Ambudkar), one of Roger’s bitter rivals.
The six episodes take place over a single fateful day, as Roger must outwit his neurotic boss Bob Freeman, and keep everything together. Roger has just eight hours to accomplish this.
Ambudkar, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University says, he has been enjoying a busy and successful career.
Ambudkar’s parents immigrated to Baltimore in 1980 and lived by a gas station across the street where Camden Yards is now located. Ambudkar was born three years later and says Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the Science Center, and the Aquarium were all staples of his childhood.
He shot his first movie, “Rocket Science,” in Baltimore in 2007 and called that a “special experience.”
“People sleep on how good the food is in Baltimore and the local music. They need to know,” he said.
When asked what has been the biggest motivator for his career, Ambudkar deadpanned: “At first, it was my stomach.”
“Now, with a little bit more success, my biggest motivator is presenting South-Asian roles to the public that haven’t been seen or are still seen as pushing the envelope, like the bedroom scene in ‘Bartlett,’” he said.
Ambudkar says he would love to one-day work with Jean Claude Van Damme— “Hands down. No one else comes close.” He would also love to play James Bond – “or some kind of spy cool guy.”
“I think I have the bone structure for such an endeavor. My favorite role to date has probably been Rin in the new movie ‘Blindspotting,’ which premiered this year at Sundance and was purchased by LionsGate,” Ambudkar said. “It’s pretty small but the filmmakers turned the cameras on and let me improvise the entire scene. That kind of freedom is rare and feels really good.”