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Anupam Kher's The Big Sick picked up for $12 million at Sundance by Amazon

Kher plays the father of Kumail Nanjiani’s character in the new film from producer Judd Apatow.

Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Kumail Nanjiani, Shenaz Treasurywala and Adeel Akhtar

Sonal Pandya

Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani’s semi-autobiographical tale, The Big Sick, details the story of how he met writer Emily V. Gordon, played by Zoe Kazan. Produced by Judd Apatow, Anupam Kher plays Kumail’s traditional Pakistani father.

In the film (and in real-life), Gordon and Nanjiani met at a comedy club where she first heckles him during his act. They go out on a date and a few weeks later, Emily falls sick and has to be put in a medically-induced coma. Kumail realises his true feelings for her and decides to tell his family about their relationship.

Directed by Michael Showalter and co-written by Nanjiani and Gordon, the film also stars Holly Hunter, Ray Romano as Gordon’s parents and Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar and Shenaz Treasurywala as the rest of Kumail’s family.

Back in India, Kher was following the film’s progress as it premiered Friday night in the Premieres section at the Sundance film festival. The film immediately set off a bidding war; eventually Amazon bought the film for the US market at $12 million (around Rs8,16,420,000). Hollywood trade magazine Variety called it, “one of the biggest deals in the history of Sundance”.

Kher finished shooting the feature, his 500th film, back in June 2016.

Nanjiani told The Hollywood Reporter magazine that “My parents don't really understand my career. They don't really bring it up that much. But they visited the set of the movie because the guy who's playing my dad, Anupam Kher, is a huge Bollywood star. When I asked my dad, 'Hey, who do you want to play you?' that was the name he said.” Nanjiani’s parents are yet to see the film.