The One Who Brings A Smile On Everyone’s Faces: Aasif Mandvi

Aasif Mandvi
Image credits: Town News

Aasif Hakim Mandviwala, better known as Aasif Mandvi, is a British-American comic actor of Indian ancestry. He was born on March 5, 1966. On August 9, 2006, he started appearing as an infrequent contributing reporter on The Daily Show. He was elevated to a regular reporter on March 12, 2007. He is the star, co-writer, and producer of the online series Halal in the Family, which debuted on Funny or Die in 2015, as well as a performer, writer, as well as co-producer of the HBO comedy-drama series The Brink.

Mandvi has also written the novel No Land’s Man. After giving the graduation speech that year, he was granted an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree by the Macaulay Honors College in June 2019. He now plays Ben Shakir in the CBS psychological thriller Evil, which was written and produced by Robert and Michelle King. Keep reading to learn more about Aasif Mandvi.


Aasif Mandvi
Image credits: Gannet

Mandvi was raised in Bombay (currently Mumbai), Maharashtra, India, to a Muslim family of the Dawoodi Bohra sect. His family relocated to England when he was a year old, living in the West Yorkshire city of Bradford. His father, Hakim, who came to work in textile development at Bradford University, eventually owned a corner store, and his mom, Fatima, was a nurse.

Mandvi went to the exclusive Woodhouse Grove School and describes himself as a “working-class lad from Bradford.” When Mandvi was 16, his father became dissatisfied with Margaret Thatcher’s Britain and relocated his family to Tampa, Florida, USA.

Personal Life

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On August 27, 2017, Mandvi wedded his three-year girlfriend, Shaifali Puri, a novelist, and humanitarian, at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA. The interfaith wedding (since Puri is Hindu) was conducted in front of 220 friends and family members. Puri gave birth to their baby on March 14, 2020. Mandvi is suffering from persistent tinnitus.

A Career Full of Laughs

Aasif Mandvi
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Mandvi started as a performer at Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World Resort after graduating from the University of South Florida with a Theatre degree. Later, he relocated to New York City and started acting in off-Broadway plays there as well as on Broadway. The Cowboys and Indians were his bands of choice during this time period. Sakina’s Restaurant, his highly praised one-man show, was nominated for an Obie Award and he took home the prize.

Mandvi made his Broadway debut in Trevor Nunn’s 2002 production of Oklahoma! as Ali Hakim. He was also in Tony Kushner’s play Homebody/Kabul. In Einstein’s Gift, an off-Broadway production, he played Fritz Haber.

He featured in Tom Stoppard’s On the Razzle as Melchior and the Culture Project’s Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom as Honor Bound. Mandvi made her Broadway debut at the Claire Tow Theater in Lincoln Center’s Disgraced in 2012. In Ayad Akhtar’s drama, he portrayed Amir, a Pakistani-American lawyer torn between his cultural identity and his faith. Ultimately, the play was a hit and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama that year. His performance earned him a Lucille Lortel Award nomination.

His Rise To Fame On Television

Image credits: Daily News

In the Miami Vice episode “Line of Fire,” Mandvi made his acting debut as a doorman at the Miami Biltmore Hotel. There have been many television roles for him subsequently, notably in ER, Sopranos, Sex and the City (on which he played a prostitute named Sex), CSI, Oz, Ed, The Bedford Diaries, Jericho, Sleeper Cell, and many different versions of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Trial by Jury. Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie (2005) was his first project as an audiobook reader, and Magic Seeds by V. S. Naipaul was his second (2004). He featured in Taco Bell ads in 2011 as a voiceover actor.

Mandvi tried out for The Daily Show in 2006. He was recruited right away and featured on the program the next day. In 2007, Mandvi had become a regular reporter. With titles like “Senior Asian Correspondent,” “Senior Middle East Correspondent,” “Senior Foreign Looking Correspondent,” as well as “Senior Muslim Correspondent,” he often appears in segments satirizing and commenting on Islamic, Middle Eastern, and South Asian-related topics.

Mandvi made his television debut in the romantic comedy Us & Them on FOX in 2013. Mandvi’s interview with Don Yelton on The Daily Show in 2013 resulted in Yelton resigning from his position as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.

He made an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show in November 2014 to discuss his book. His father relocated his family to the United States because of the country’s prosperity, as he explained in his book No Land’s Man.

Mandvi began as Rafiq Massoud in the HBO comedy The Brink in June of 2015. On top of everything else, Mandvi is the show’s writer and co-producer.  When Mandvi first appeared on Person of Interest in April 2015, he played the CEO of a software security company named Sulaiman Khan.

Mandvi became a celebrity reporter for the climate change documentary Years of Living Dangerously in 2016.

For two episodes in season one of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Mandvi played a herpetologist and distant cousin of the Baudelaire children named Montgomery “Uncle Monty” Montgomery. During season two, he made a cameo appearance in an episode to reprise his part.

Ben Shakir, a carpenter working as a technical specialist, equipment handler, and debunker of strange occurrences, was played by Mandvi in Robert and Michelle King’s supernatural drama series Evil on CBS in 2019.

Taking Over The Film Industry

Aasif Mandvi
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Mandvi appeared in supporting parts in The Siege, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, and The Mystic Masseur, all of which were produced by Merchant Ivory. He played “Engineering Sam,” the main character’s roommate, in the indie film American Chai. Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) experienced panic attacks, and he was the doctor who diagnosed them in Analyze This.

He also appeared as Mr. Aziz from “Joe’s Pizza” in Spider-Man 2. Aside from that, he appeared in ads for Domino’s Pizza as well as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The character he portrayed in Music and Lyrics was the deaf-mute doorman Khan.

Mandvi appeared as a dentist in the romantic comedy Ghost Town with Ricky Gervais in 2008, and as an office worker named Bob Spaulding in Sandra Bullock’s The Proposal. It had its world debut at the London Film Festival in October 2009 and the New York City’s Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival on November 11, 2009. Mandvi co-wrote Today’s Special with Jonathan Bines.

As Ned Vizzini, he featured in Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s coming-of-age picture It’s Kind of a Funny Story, which was based on the book of the same name published in 2006. This co-starring role was inspired by the actual transcripts of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals held at Guantanamo in 2004. He also appeared in the film The Response as a former Guantanamo detainee.

He portrayed Commander Zhao in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender (launched in 2010). With Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as his co-stars, Mandvi portrayed Mr. Chetty in the 2013 comedy The Internship. He then played Ash Vasudevan in the 2014 movie Million Dollar Arm.

FAQs About Aasif Mandvi

What is Aasif Mandvi known for?

Aasif Mandvi is well-known for his performances on The Daily Show, as well as his work on the online comedy Halal in the Family as well as the HBO series The Brink.

How much is Aasif Mandvi worth?

Aasif Mandvi is a $3 million dollar net worth Indian-American actor and comedian.

Who is Aasif Mandvi’s wife?

After meeting via a mutual acquaintance in 2013, Aasif Mandvi, the 54-year-old Proposal actor, married Shaifali, a visiting researcher at New York University, in Atlanta in 2017.

Where was Aasif Mandvi born?

Mandvi, who was born in Mumbai and brought up in England as well as Florida before studying acting in New York City, was born Aasif Hakim Mandviwala.

What nationality is Aasif Mandvi?

Aasif Mandvi is an Indian-origin British-American actor and comedian.


We hope you enjoyed this comprehensive bio on Aasif Mandvi and were inspired by his love for comedy, and his determination to succeed despite all the struggles he faced. To learn more about other notable personalities, keep reading Seema.