Manu Narayan

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Manu Narayan
Manu Narayan 2013 Photo by Lia Chang (2).jpg
Manu Narayan in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
Born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation Actor, Singer, Songwriter, Classical Saxophonist
Years active 1999 – present

Manu Narayan (born: August 16, 1973, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American actor, film producer, singer, songwriter, composer and saxophonist. He currently serves as a Trustee on the board of Carnegie Mellon University, his alma mater.[1]

Narayan was hailed as a "promising young star...a compelling actor and outstanding singer who can light up a stage with sheer force of personality," by UPI in 2004 [2] when he made his Broadway debut in the Andrew Lloyd Webber/A.R. Rahman musical Bombay Dreams, originating the role of the "hero" Akaash.[3] Narayan co-starred as Rajneesh alongside Mike Myers in the Paramount Pictures' Film The Love Guru,[4] released worldwide on June 20, 2008.

Early life[edit]

Narayan was born in Pittsburgh and currently resides in Hollywood. He is an accomplished classical saxophonist in the western and South Indian Carnatic styles. When Narayan was a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University, he won the Concerto Competition and performed the Glazunov Saxophone Concerto with orchestra at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh. Narayan studied the Carnatic saxophone in Mangalore, India with Sri Kadri Gopalnath, and played on All India Radio as the winner of the All India Radio music competition of Mangalore.

Career[edit]

As an actor, Narayan appeared alongside Mike Myers, Jessica Alba and Justin Timberlake in Paramount Pictures' summer comedy The Love Guru.[4] On stage, Narayan made his Broadway debut in the Andrew Lloyd Webber/A.R. Rahman musical Bombay Dreams in 2004, originating the role he is most widely known for, the “hero” Akaash, and garnered a New York Drama League nomination. Narayan recently starred as Richard Roma in La Jolla Playhouse's critically acclaimed revival of Glengarry Glen Ross and was nominated for a 2012 San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Award.[5]

Charles McNulty of Los Angeles Times said “Manu Narayan as Richard Roma, the slick, unscrupulous king of the conspicuously placed sales leader board, which never lets anyone forget who’s on top...Narayan has the character strut around like a foul-mouthed Casanova. It’s an attention-grabbing performance...it adds to the velocity of Ashley’s thrillingly paced production.” [6] Pam Kragen of North County Times declared, "Manu Narayan is dazzling as the testosterone-fueled Richard Roma, the slick, charismatic sales leader...”,[7] while Ken Herman of SanDiegostory.com said, “whenever Manu Narayan as the eerily captivating Ricky Roma was on stage, the play soared. Narayan not only delivered a pitch-perfect take on the character of this devious, narcissistic hawker of worthless real estate, but he vigorously telegraphed the terse, staccato scan of Mamet’s prose. Roma believes he is larger than life, and Narayan made even the slightest gesture stoke his smarmy illusion." [8]

Narayan starred as the romantic lead in Sudhish Kamath’s Good Night Good Morning, which he co-produced, and Shailja Gupta’s Walkaway. He co-starred with Lucy Hale in the Warner Brothers/ ABC Family comedy A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song, is featured in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender. He also co-starred with Canadian comic Russell Peters in Quarterlife Crisis (Showtime).

In 2003, Narayan was invited to sing at a small state dinner for the first official visit of President George W. Bush to the UK. Narayan sang for and met Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Family, and President George W. Bush[9] and Colin Powell. He also sang for then Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign, sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton.[10] as well as elsewhere with Cyndi Lauper, The Band’s Garth Hudson [11] and Martha Wainwright.

As a recording artist, Narayan has collaborated on and recorded original and cover tracks for feature film soundtracks including The Love Guru, Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song, Good Night Good Morning and Walkaway. He co-wrote and recorded the single Help Me to Find for the film Hiding Divya starring Madhur Jaffrey. Narayan has collaborated with Grammy winner Frank London numerous times around the world, most recently recording and performing for his Soundbrush records’ Klezmer concept album A Night in the Old Marketplace. As the lead vocalist, Narayan performed the concert version of the album throughout Europe and North America. He is currently working on a new Klezmer/Desi collaboration with Frank London and master percussionist Deep Singh, whom he performed with in Bombay Dreams.

Narayan is also lead singer of the band D A R U N A M with Radovan Jovicevic, founding member of Yugoslavia's Grupa Zana. The band brings together the melodies and rhythms from three countries: America, India and Serbia. He recorded with D A R U N A M bandmate Radovan Jovicevic the single Have Me for the 2007 film And Then Came Love starring Vanessa Williams. Narayan and Jovicevic have released the EP All That's Beautiful Must Die and the title track's video featuring Janina Gavankar. Their album of Electronic Lounge/World Gypsy music with Canadian clarinetist Milan Milosevic entitled The Last Angel on Earth was released live on CBC national radio in Canada in 2010.

Narayan has also collaborated with instrumentalists of various ethnic backgrounds, providing the vocals for Jewish sacred mystical music compositions.

Filmography[edit]

  • Law and Order:SVU – (2001 Season 3) (TV series)
  • The Sopranos – (2004 Season 5) (TV series) Sukhjit Khan
  • Quarter Life Crisis (2006) Jonathan
  • Hiding Divya (2006) Irfana Auntie's son
  • Two Men in Shoulder Stand (2006) (short)
  • M.O.N.Y. (2007) TV Movie) Sunil Ramesh - directed by Spike Lee and produced by Tom Fontana
  • Lipstick Jungle – (2008 Pilot) (TV series)
  • Cashmere Mafia – (2008 Pilot) (TV series)
  • Mayor of N.Y. - Pilot Episode
  • As the World Turns (TV series)
  • The Love Guru (2008) Rajneesh - directed by Marco Schnabel
  • Click and Clack’s As the Wrench Turns – (2008 Season 3) (TV series)
  • Radha (2008) (short)
  • The Order (2009)
  • Three (2009)
  • Clap Clap (2009) (short)
  • Nurse Jackie – (2010) (TV series) Paramedic
  • Wall Street: The Money Never Sleeps (2010) directed by Oliver Stone
  • The Last Airbender (2010) Fire Nation Head Prison Guard - directed by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Rubicon – (2010) (TV series) Bob Standard
  • Good Night Good Morning (2010) (PVR cinemas) - Turya / songwriter / soundtrack artist - directed by Sudhish Kamath
  • Walkaway (2010) (Reliance pictures / big cinema) - Darius / songwriter / soundtrack artist -directed by Shailja Gupta
  • A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song (2011) Ravi/Tony Gupta (video)
  • Unforgettable (2011 TV series) – (2011) (TV series) Sami
  • The Protector - (2011 Pilot) (TV series)
  • Deception (U.S. TV series) - (2012) (TV series) Plastic Surgeon
  • The Following - (2013) (TV series) FBI Analyst Reece

Stage[edit]

George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, NJ

Critical Acclaim for La Jolla Playhouse's 2012 Revival of Glengarry Glen Ross[edit]

Charles McNulty wrote in Los Angeles Times on September 27, 2012, “The success of Ashley’s tight and tense production owes a good deal to the actors in these roles…Manu Narayan as Richard Roma, the slick, unscrupulous king of the conspicuously placed sales leader board, which never lets anyone forget who’s on top…Closing deals is clearly a high-testosterone activity. When Roma puts the moves on a prospective buyer, it’s as though he’s making love to them. Narayan has the character strut around like a foul-mouthed Casanova. It’s an attention-grabbing performance — any minute you half-expect this Roma to break out some “Saturday Night Fever” dance moves — and it adds to the velocity of Ashley’s thrillingly paced production.” [6]

Pam Kragen wrote in North County Times on September 23, 2012, "Manu Narayan is dazzling as the testosterone-fueled Richard Roma, the slick, charismatic sales leader who easily overwhelms the resistance of his timid, awe-struck mark with a blizzard of self-important, nonsensical phraseology. It’s clear that Roma is selling more than swamp land in Glengarry Highlands to his wimpy, henpecked customer James Lingk. He’s selling machismo and Lingk (a quivering, cowering Jeff Marlow) is most definitely buying." [7]

Ken Herman wrote on SanDiegostory.com on October 4, 2012, " However, whenever Manu Narayan as the eerily captivating Ricky Roma was on stage, the play soared. Narayan not only delivered a pitch-perfect take on the character of this devious, narcissistic hawker of worthless real estate, but he vigorously telegraphed the terse, staccato scan of Mamet’s prose. Roma believes he is larger than life, and Narayan made even the slightest gesture stoke his smarmy illusion." [8]

Jean Lowerison wrote on SDGLN.com on September 27, 2012, "Narayan’s Roma is everything you’d expect a sleazebag salesman to be: fleet of tongue, shy on ethics and a human verbal bulldozer who doesn’t take “no” for an answer." [12]

Jessica Ordon wrote in La Jolla Light on September 26, 2012, "Manu Narayan gives an energetic performance as Richard Roma, a character made up of off-color charm, luck, and lies." [13]

David L. Coddon wrote in San Diego CityBeat on September 26, 2012, "Even the comparatively successful Richard Roma (Manu Narayan) is in fierce competition not only with his fellow agents, but also with a creeping part of himself that wants to F-bomb it all... Narayan’s performance as Roma, which manages gestures of tenderness toward the pitiable Shelly, is the stoutest among a cast..." [14]

References[edit]

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