We've all had a "cool teacher" at some point. The one who gets you and has the ability to use slang, but in a way that doesn't make you cringe inwardly. In Season 2 of Never Have I Ever, that's who Mr. Kulkarni is for Devi.
In real life, the actor who plays Mr. Kulkarni is every bit as cool as his fictional counterpart. Or maybe even cooler.
Utkarsh Ambudkar is a singer and rapper you might have seen or heard in a number of places. He has also been in movies and he voices a character in a Disney Junior animated series. The guy is kind of all over the place, but in the best way.
And if you're finding yourself absolutely loving Mr. Kulkarni because of the actor who plays him, you aren't alone.
Who plays Mr. Kulkarni in 'Never Have I Ever'?
Like his character in Never Have I Ever, Utkarsh Ambudkar is Indian American. He was born in the United States to parents who moved to the U.S. from India and in that regard, he's also not unlike Devi in the show. Utkarsh is also a born performer and performed comedy shows during high school, leading to his eventual career in show business.
These days, you probably know him as a performer in a myriad of ways. He's a singer and rapper with two EPs and two albums under his belt. Utkarsh was also in Pitch Perfect, where he showed off some of his rapping skills. And he has worked with Mindy Kaling, who co-created Never Have I Ever, before.
He was actually in The Mindy Project as Mindy's brother and a would-be professional rapper. And outside of his career, Utkarsh is married with two kids.
You may have also seen Utkarsh in White Famous, Game Over, Man!, and Godmothered. And he voices a few different characters in the Disney Junior series Mira, Royal Detective. Next up, he'll be in the Ryan Reynolds action-comedy Free Guy. And outside of performing as a comedian, rapper, and actor, Utkarsh is proud of where he came from.
"If I was going to change my name the most I was going to do was to drop my last name and just go by one name," he told GQ. "It never actually occurred to me to shorten or change my name. I'm proud of my name. I'm proud of my father and my mother and what they've done. And if I continue to do my work, people will learn it."
Devi's English teacher in 'Never Have I Ever' is a new romantic interest for her cousin.
In Never Have I Ever, Utkarsh plays Manish Kulkarni, Devi's English teacher who also takes an immediate interest in Devi's cousin, Kamala. He's cool as a teacher, but in general, he's a genuine guy and, if there's a Season 3 of Never Have I Ever, he could play an even larger role in Devi's life. Especially if her cousin starts dating him.
In the Never Have I Ever Season 2 finale, Kamala leaves a family dinner and her fiancé to run across town to Devi's high school dance. She sees Devi's English teacher, and it seems they might have a future. At the very least, their budding romance could be a fun B plot in the future.
Never Have I Ever is now streaming on Netflix.