Hello there… my name is Vilayat Khan. You’ve probably never heard of me. I bet that like your brothers at Homeland Security, you think that I’m a terrorist applying for a job with The Avengers. Which, if I was, you must admit I have bigger balls than any of the avengers (Mark Ruffalo? Really?) – to be a terrorist AND apply for a job as a savior of the universe, no? Actually, when I’m not working my regular job finding ways to blow up America I also moonlight as an actor in Bollywood.
You’re wondering if I can actually ‘handle’ all that comes with being part of the MCU universe. You’ll say that Captain America can bench-press 300. Thor can throw a hammer. What can I do? Well, I’ve worn a t-shirt, jeans, soggy socks, and shoes, stood in -20 degree freezing-my-ass-off cold in the Swiss Alps carrying my 120lbs leading lady for three consecutive days (ALL DAY) because the director and cinematographer couldn’t agree on a 3-second shot that is part of a seven-minute song.
And that was just last week.
Can I do ‘love’ onscreen? Well, you guys tear each other’s clothes and have sex onscreen (oh, God, I’m so fucking envious). But we are more subtle. In 20 years, I’ve never even kissed a girl onscreen. I leave all those shenanigans for offscreen and/or when I go on location shoots without my wife or kids (and I don’t have to pretend that we have the best marriage in showbiz like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie before they broke up). But I can sound breathy and make my nostrils flare on command. I think of Vin Diesel when he talks of mi familia in those thousands of car movies and the waterworks flow on cue. I can look deep into my leading lady’s eyes as my heart beats faster when I remember last month’s bill from Harrod’s…so my wife wouldn’t expose me as the twenty-timing charlatan.
Look. The last thing you should even question me is on my fighting skills like Shang-chi. Just last month I gathered 100 dancers and did a drill-like exercise-cum-calisthenics and Zumba (we call that modern dancing) to show love for my girl. Then I jumped from a rope and did a combo of Krav Maga, kickboxing, and capoeira smack dab in the middle of Piccadilly station in London surrounded by onscreen enemies, thousands of locals, bystanders, hecklers, and Bollywood aficionados for a song and fight sequence. No, no. Not a song OR a fight sequence. Song AND fight sequences. The fights happen during the song.
And, of course, no MCU universe will be complete without costumes, no? A true actor is one who can costume AND act, right? Well, on a good day I strut around wearing pink bellbottoms with black stripes, unbuttoned-till-my-navel florescent green shirts, and top it off with orange jackets with black studs – on location – in foreign countries where pastel colors are considered ‘in your face’ bright and white folks snigger and howl with laughter and think I’m the craziest motherfucker in the entire world.
I AM THE craziest motherfucker in the entire world. But I’m also a $200 million-worth crazy motherfucker in the world.
Although I’m writing this email in English you’re wondering if I can speak and act in English. Well, sirs…the Brits left us broke AF when Mahatma Gandhiji fasted his way to our freedom but they did leave behind English. While kids in America do their own research by watching Alex Jones’ videos on YouTube and getting facts from Breitbart News, I studied, in English, how you should never underestimate the Kardashians. I also learned about slavery, the American civil war and how black people were considered 3/5ths of a human.
But, to be fair, I cannot be Vin Diesel’s talking plant in The Guardians of the Galaxy. And his ability to emote with a vocabulary of three words, “I am Groot”? Give him an Oscar already.
I also cannot do what the Black Widow does. No one can. And that’s why, in your infinite wisdom, you killed off a kickass woman for a wishy-washy bland gentleman with a bow and arrow. And rewarded him for his insipidity with a TV show. I applaud your judgment.
Finally, you’re mulling over the Avengers’ popularity all over the world. Thing is, literally every country other than the US has heard of me. But, like every American Football player after winning the Superbowl praises God for making them ‘World Champions’ even though no one outside America knows or fucking cares about the N in the National Football League, but, for Americans, America IS the whole world, amirite?
BTW… my twitter and Instagram followers are more than ALL of your Avengers combined. Just FYI.
I know, I know.
You’ll try hard, so, so hard but despite everything, you’ll bounce back and say, “But Mr. Vilayat…your last name …”
That’s right. My last name is Khan.
Love and Sandwiches by Russell Ting
Diary Foreboding Sussex (Horror Short Play) by Dues
Another Dreary Day by Wynn Chng
Cover image by Brian McGowan / Unsplash. The copyright of ‘My Last Name Is Khan” belongs to Roopa.
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