Sir Ben Kingsley is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. His films are always unique and he is one of the best actors the industry has. Born Krishna Pandit Bhanji to a Gujarati father and British mother, he took on the name “Ben Kingsley” once he entered film. In his latest film, Learning to Drive Kingsley plays a Sikh cab driver and hopes the role will encourage sympathy toward the Sikh community. On The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon a couple days ago, he spoke about the Sikh community positively. This is a transcription of the conversation the two had.
Jimmy Fallon: Let’s talk about your film “Learning to Drive”, this is a great film. I love it, Patricia Clarkson is in it as well and it’s basically two strangers that…
Sir Ben Kingsley: Very unlikely meeting between two people who live in their own bubble and they meet and learn a great deal from each other. I think it’s a very tender story and it was wonderful to be in it. Actually the first person I saw as I turned the corner coming here was a Sikh cab driver very proudly getting into his cab. It was a very strange piece of serendipity to see him.
I hope, I hope after the film that the next Sikh that you see, with their great turbans and everything, you just maybe give him a second look and think about the past and his exile and where he’s coming from.
You know that Sikh drivers after 9/11 turned off all their meters and were slowing down and asking people “Where is your loved one, I will help you find them.” All the Sikh community in New York. Beautiful.