||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2011)|
1 December 1982
Wembley, London, England
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford
Central School of Speech and Drama
|Associated acts||Plan B|
Rizwan "Riz" Ahmed (born 1 December 1982), also known as Riz MC, is a British actor and rapper from Wembley, London, of Pakistani heritage. He has starred in The Road to Guantanamo, Shifty, Britz, Four Lions, Ill Manors and The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
Ahmed was born into a Muslim family in Wembley, London, England. He is of British Pakistani heritage. Ahmed's parents moved from Karachi, Pakistan to the UK during the 1970s which is where Ahmed was born and raised.
Ahmed attended Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood, through a scholarship programme. He graduated from Christ Church, Oxford, with a degree in PPE and studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London.
Television and film
Ahmed's film career began in the Michael Winterbottom film The Road to Guantanamo in which he played the part of Shafiq Rasul, a member of the Tipton Three. Coincidentally, he and another actor involved in the film as well as two of the Tipton Three were detained at Luton Airport upon their return from the Berlin Film Festival where the film won a Silver Bear Award. Across his years as an actor he has also featured in various TV roles. He has played Sohail Waheed in the 2007 Channel 4 drama, Britz. 2008 saw him perform as both Riq in the five-part horror thriller for E4, Dead Set and Manesh Kunzru in ITV1's finance fraud drama Wired. In July 2009 in appeared in Freefall alongside Sarah Harding. Most notably, he featured in the title role of the 2009 independent film Shifty, directed by Eran Creevy. Ahmed plays the charismatic young drug dealer in the film which sees a life in the day of this character. He was nominated for Best Actor at the 2008 British Independent Film Awards for this role, alongside Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.
Continuing his film career, he featured in the 2009 Sally Potter production of Rage and in 2010, in Chris Morris' satire on terrorism, Four Lions, for which he received his second British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Actor. Ahmed also had a supporting role in Neil Marshall's historical thriller Centurion.
He recently starred as one of the leading roles in the London based film Ill Manors (released in 2012), directed by Plan B as "Aaron": Ahmed received his third and most recent British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Actor. He assumed the lead role in Mira Nair's adaptation of the best-selling novel by Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, alongside Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, and Liev Schreiber.
Ahmed played a role in the Asian Dub Foundation opera Gaddafi and a starring role as psychotic serial-killer-turned-born-again-Christian Lucius in the Lighthouse Theatre's acclaimed production of Stephen Adly Guirgis's Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train (directed by Jack William Clift and Thomas Sweatman) as well as in Shan Khan's Prayer Room.
In 2006, Ahmed released a satirical social-commentary rap track entitled "Post 9/11 Blues". The song was initially banned from British airplay because the lyrics were deemed ‘politically sensitive’. Other tracks he has released include "Sour Times" which was accompanied by a video featuring Scroobius Pip, Plan B and Jim Sturgess.
He was selected as a BBC Introducing artist in 2007, playing the Glastonbury Festival and the BBC Electric Proms. He opened the Meltdown Festival with Bristol-based trip-hop group Massive Attack at the Royal Festival Hall in 2008, and was appointed 'Emerging Artist in Residence' at the Southbank Centre in London. He played at the London Camp for Climate Action in August 2009.
He released his debut album MICroscope in 2011.
|2006||The Road to Guantanamo||Shafiq|
|2008||Shifty||Shifty||Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Won—Best Actor, Geneva Cinéma Tout Ecran
|2010||Four Lions||Omar||Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Actor|
|2012||Ill Manors||Aaron||Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Actor|
|2013||The Reluctant Fundamentalist||Changez||Directed by Mira Nair|
|Closed Circuit||Nazrul Sharma|
|2006||The Path to 9/11||TV film|
|2007||Britz||Sohail Wahid||Two part serial for Channel 4|
|2008||Dead Set||Riq||TV mini series|
- Gaddafi by Asian Dub Foundation
- Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis
- Prayer Room by Shan Khan
- MICroscope (2011)
- "The Post 9/11 Blues" (2006)
- "People Like People" (2007)
- "Radar" (2008)
- "Shifty" (with Sway & Plan B) (2009)
- "Don't Sleep" (2009)
- "Hundreds and Thousands" (2010)
- "Get on It" (2010)
- "All of You" (2011)
- Geneva Cinéma Tout Ecran Best Actor 2008: Was awarded best actor for his role in the urban thriller Shifty
- Shooting Stars Award 2012: Riz will receive this award at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2012, annual acting award for up-and-coming actors by European Film Promotion.
- Priyanka Dasgupta (2 May 2011). "Michael had me baptized by fire: Riz Ahmed". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Guantanamo duo 'held' at airport". BBC News. 21 February 2006.
- Riz MC Signs to Tru Thoughts - http://www.tru-thoughts.co.uk/news/riz-mc-signs-to-tru-thoughts
- Blaney, Martin (2011-12-08). "European Film Promotion unveils 2012 Shooting Stars longlist | News | Screen". Screendaily.com. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
- Official website
- Riz Ahmed at the Internet Movie Database
- When even actors aren't safe New Statesman
- Guardian piece on "Post 9/11 Blues"
- BBC Film Network: short films featuring Riz Ahmed