Exclusive: Rizwan Manji Interview (Rajiv From NBC’s OUTSOURCED)

Rizwan Manji

In anticipation of tonight’s episode of OUTSOURCED “Jolly Vindaloo Day”, we had a chance to catch up with series star Rizwan Manji who plays the role of Rajiv, the hilariously eager assistant manager who is always on the lookout for his expected position of manager.

Rizwan graciously took the time to talk about how he got the part of Rajiv, how a day on the set looks like and also about the possibility of a crossover episode with The Office.

Can you talk about the casting process that led to you landing the role of Rajiv?

Rizwan Manji: I was handed the role sight unseen! I wish! I read the script along with other pilots during pilot season and thought this was by far the funniest. If there was any pilot I wanted to be in, it was this one. I ended up getting an audition for the role of Gupta (played by the awesome Parvesh Cheena) and did a two-day screen test for that role, which I eventually did not get. I was devastated and begrudgingly sent Parvesh an email of congratulations the next day. About a week later, I got a call saying they wanted me to screen test for the role of Rajiv. My wife was out of town and I was alone with my then 15-month-old daughter and had 11 pages of dialogue to memorize. With the help of my friends Aly Mawji and Sarayu Rao (who coincidentally plays my fiancé in the upcoming episode “Jolly Vindaloo Day”) I was able to give a decent audition. Within 24 hours, I got the job!

How do you prepare for the role?

Rizwan Manji: Prepare??? I am RAJIV!!!! Actually, with this mustache, it is quite easy to morph into Rajiv.

What does a day on the set look like? Any anecdotes that you can share?

Rizwan Manji: We usually get there bright and early, get into hair and make-up and wardrobe and then I take a nap! Seriously though, we have 13 or 14-hour days and we all are in most of the scenes because many of them take place in the call center where we all work. It is the most fun 13 or 14 hours we all get to spend transporting ourselves to India.

In the upcoming episode “Jolly Vindaloo Day”, we find out about Rajiv’s arranged marriage. Can you talk about what we can expect in the episode?

Rizwan Manji: Interestingly enough, unlike Asha, Rajiv has found himself a “Love Match”. I know it seems hard to believe that someone actually chose to get engaged to Rajiv but someone actually did. I don’t want to spoil it for everyone, so tune in for the episode to find out what love makes Rajiv do!

Can you hint at what viewers can expect in future episodes? Also, What was your favorite episode so far?

Rizwan Manji: I don’t know how much I can say but spiders, cockroaches, pimps, naughty nurses and naughty toys all find their way into Outsourced episodes. My favorite episode thus far is definitely the upcoming one “Jolly Vindaloo Day“. There are a lot of fun misunderstandings and scheming and I love that.

Since the premiere, what has been your experience with people who have seen the show?

Rizwan Manji: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. It was kind of surreal going to the Long Beach Aquarium last week with my daughter and being stopped by random people and told how much they loved the show. Friends and family are also really excited and they are loving that each episode gets better and better. You get to learn about each character and the relationships are really starting to develop.

Do you know if the show is going to get picked up for a full season?

Rizwan Manji: Do you know? Someone please tell me! The short mustached big nosed Indian actor is always the last to know…. We are all feeling very positive as the show is doing really well so hopefully some good news soon…

You have had several roles as a doctor in shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” “Hawthorne” and “Glee.” Can you diagnose anything yet 🙂 ?

Rizwan Manji: No, but I know a lot of Indian doctors if you need a referral.

If you could guest star on any other show, which one would it be?

Rizwan Manji: Maybe there can be THE OFFICE/OUTSOURCED crossover episode and I could guest star on THE OFFICE! Now that would be cool!

Tell us something about Rajiv that no one has ever asked you about.

Rizwan Manji: Nobody has asked what Rajiv’s favorite color is? And why would they? The answer is obviously Brown!