‘Schitt’s Creek’ actor Rizwan Manji defends his South Asian character’s accent

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Followers of the present have taken concern with “Schitt’s Creek” resident Ray Butani, an eccentric businessman who runs an actual estate-travel-photography enterprise. Butani, one of many few non-White characters on the present, speaks with an accent and, based on some viewers, performs into stereotypes of South Asian males.

However the Indian-Canadian actor who performs Ray, Rizwan Manji, stated in an interview with the Toronto Star that he got here up with the character’s accent on his personal, and he did not assume his characterization was offensive.

“It’s a very slight Indian accent — any individual who was in all probability raised in Canada, however in all probability was born in India or Pakistan,” he instructed the paper. “I do not remorse that as a result of I feel it truly works for Ray. He wasn’t like everyone else in that city. He was from someplace else.”

When he was solid in “Schitt’s Creek,” Manji stated, producers gave him free rein to develop Ray — there was no path on if he had an accent. At a desk learn, he tried out an accent just like one he’d carried out in a earlier function. Dan Levy, the present’s star and co-creator, authorised, Manji stated.

Manji stated he is prevented taking offensive components, although to start with of his profession, these are almost all he was provided. He’d solely get gives for characters like cab drivers or comfort retailer workers, and he was at all times requested to play them with a thick accent, he instructed the Star.

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“It was very strictly, like, the joke was on the accent,” Manji stated.

Manji stated that whereas round 60% of his roles have concerned utilizing accents, he solely employs them when he feels they’re essential to the character.

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Some critics instructed the Star that they felt that Manji’s characterization was nonetheless enjoying into the expectations of White audiences and showrunners. For a present that prides itself on inclusivity — Levy’s character is in a relationship with a person for a lot of the collection and marries him within the finale — the function of Ray felt like a slight.

In an announcement to the Star, Levy praised Manji’s portrayal of Ray and the alternatives Manji made, which Levy emphasised weren’t requested of him by producers.

“All characters on our present had been created with love, respect and humanity,” Levy stated. “It has been gratifying to have these intentions mirrored via the overwhelming viewers help for these characters. That stated, I welcome any views that encourage conversations about variety, particularly in leisure.”

“Schitt’s Creek” received 9 Emmys in 2020, which Levy and different solid members, together with Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy, accepted at a socially distanced viewing occasion in Toronto. Manji, who’s based mostly in Los Angeles, cheered them on nearly.



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