"My future has been
destroyed. And this is
all you can offer me?"
Aasif Mandvi plays Hassan Ali Al-Aqar in "The Response."
According to Aasif, playing Al-Aqar was “like going down the rabbit hole. It’s set in some weird courtroom in some bizarre totalitarian other-world, yet it’s an American courtroom. And just knowing it was taken from transcripts is pretty powerful.” As the detainee Al-Aqar, Mandvi had to enter the courtroom in shackles and then be chained to the floor —- standard operating procedure for the tribunals.
“[Being shackled to a] floor plate with the metal link is obviously dehumanizing,” he says. “There’s something about wearing it that gets you right in that space. It’s a powerful physical and symbolic sense of having that clamp on your foot. The first day we were shooting it was hard, it took a toll. Imagine that clamp for four or five or six or seven years — the psychological weathering that can happen.”
For himself, Mandvi believes that his character functions as the voice of logic, the voice of reason in the film. “The other characters end up debating him. He’s the fulcrum around which they all spin.”
Aasif Mandvi: Participation in Screenings/Panels for "The Response"
Aasif Mandvi has participated in screenings and panels for "The Response" including:
Aasif Mandvi: Film, TV, and Stage Credits
A versatile actor, writer, and producer, Aasif's expansive career has spanned film, television and stage. Mandvi currently stars as the 'Middle East Correspondent' on Comedy Central's Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show with John Stewart. In film, Mandvi next stars in Ghost Town with Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni and Ricky Gervais. Mandvi has also wrapped production on Disney’s The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, and his film Pretty Bird with Paul Giamatti and Billy Crudup premiered at Sundance in 2008.
Other film credits include Music and Lyrics with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant, the title role in Merchant/Ivory’s The Mystic Masseur, Spiderman 2, Freedomland, The Understudy, Eavesdrop, The Siege, Analyze This, ABCD, American Chai, The War Within and Sorry, Haters. In Summer 2008, Mandvi began production on the indie film, 7 To The Palace, a “heartwarming New York style Tandoori comedy,” which he co-wrote, produced and stars in. Television credits include a recurring role on CBS’s cult-hit Jericho, as well as guest appearances on Sex and the City, Sleeper Cell, The Sopranos, The Bedford Diaries, Oz, CSI, Law & Order and ER.
Aasif is the recipient of the 1999 OBIE award for his critically acclaimed one-man show Sakina’s Restaurant. His other New York stage credits include the 2002 Broadway revival of Oklahoma!, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, Homebody/Kabul, Suburbia, Trudy Blue and Speak Truth to Power.
Mandvi was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's “25 Filmmakers to Watch” in 2008.
Additional Resources about Aasif Mandvi
Aasif Mandvi on Wikipedia
Official Aasif Mandvi website