An Open Letter to J.J. Abrams: If There’s a Khan, He Should Be Indian

True there are only rumors about the second rebooted Star Trek film right now, and there’s been no confirmation that Khan will be its villain, but if he is, I have something to say to J. J. Abrams, assuming he’s going ahead with Khan:

Make him a real Indian.

As many of you will already know, the internet has been awash with news of Benicio Del Toro being considered for a role in the second J. J. Abrams reboot Star Trek film. Recently, it came to light that Del Toro won’t be in the film, but some outlets are reporting that the villain of the film will, in fact, be Khan Noonien Singh, last seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Now I am a fan of Benicio Del Toro’s. And had he been cast as Khan I would have been willing to go with it, since I would love to see where he would take the character. However, now that he’s refused, should Khan be in the film, my plea to Mr. Abrams would be that he consider an actual Indian actor. 

The character of Khan Noonien Singh, introduced in the Original Series episode, “Space Seed,” genetically engineered to be superhuman in both body and mind, was an Indian, in fact a Sikh. So why not cast an Indian (or South Asian) actor in the role? 

Don’t get me wrong — I loved Ricardo Montalban’s portrayal of the character. And in 1967 I would guess that there weren’t many Indian actors in Hollywood. However, now we have an opportunity to add authenticity to the role. Now we have Bollywood. I don’t claim to be a Bollywood aficionado, but I see the occasional film. And if you’re looking for a physically attractive, fit, charismatic man, Bollywood seems to be awash in them.

How about Salman Khan?

 

Or Sharukh Khan? Hell, they’re both named Khan already.

 

Or maybe Hrithik Roshan?

 

Abishek Bachchan? 

Accent shouldn’t be an issue because all of these guys speak English really well. They have the acting experience and the dancing involved in the average Bollywood film means they’re bound to be able to handle any physical work. Okay, I can’t vouch that any of these actors would be able to deliver a performance to rival Montalban’s, but surely someone of South Asian descent could. 

I admit it’s hard to get too worked up over this when the classic portrayal of the character was by a Latino man. But this is a chance to show that Indians can be more than just the brown doctors or convenience store owners or monkey brain eaters that we commonly see in television and films. This is a chance to show that Indians can be superhuman. And villainous. But in the best possible way. 

What do you say, J. J.? Are you willing to go where no man has gone before?


Rajan Khanna is a writer, narrator, and blogger of Indian descent. He would play the character of Khan in a second, though he’d need to hit the gym for a while first. His website is www.rajankhanna.com

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