Kalpen Suresh Modi also known as Kal Penn is an Actor, Producer, and Civil Servant. Kalpen Suresh Modi was born on 23rd April 1977 in Montclair, New Jersey, USA. He is the son of Gujarati couple migrated from India to America. His father, Suresh Modi, is an Engineer and mother, Asmita, a fragrance evaluator, a chemist. Kal has a younger brother.
His parents always wanted him to be a lawyer or doctor, but acting essence was always ringing in Kal’s mind. He completed his school years from Marlboro Middle School in Marlboro Township, New Jersey. He played baritone saxophone in the jazz band there. Kal went to ‘The Fine and Performing Arts Academy’ at Howell High School.
He then got transferred to Freehold Township High School for junior and senior years. He was always active in the schools’ theater production. He graduated in 2000 from UCLA. He further studied Film and Sociology.
Kal’s acting career started with his debut feature film named ‘Express: Aisle to Glory’ released in 1998. He then has been noticed well in the films like Van Wilder, Superman Returns,
The Namesake, Harold & Kumar Series and many more. In his initial stage of career, he was advised by his family and friends to put the name ‘Kal Penn’ on his resumes, which he found unnecessary and funny. But that resulted in 50 percent more offers than what he used to get earlier.
He only uses this name for professional purposes and likes his original name. ‘Harold & Kumar go to the White Castle’ released in 2004 turned out to be a hit comedy film and was followed by its two sequels, namely, ‘Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay’ (2008) and ‘’ (2011). Kal had first turned down the role he played in the sixth season of TV Series ‘24’ in 2007.
The role he played was of a teenage terrorist. After considering the acting norms, he did the role. Kal was offered the post of Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration, and he accepted that. He went back to his original name, Kalpen Modi. Kal hosted 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on 6th September.
His speech at the convention resulted in encouraging the young people to vote for Obama. On 18th Nov. 2013, he was appointed to take the responsibility of President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Kal also served as the Master of Ceremonies for the White House Student Film Festival on 28th Feb. 2014.
Kal served as a visiting teacher for the course “Images of Asian Americans in the Media” in Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the year 2008. He was also working on a graduate certificate in International Security from Stanford University in the year 2014. Despite living in the USA, Kal is strictly a vegetarian person.
His favorite book is ‘The Namesake’; he liked the book so much that he would use to check into hotels by the name of the character in the book, ‘Gogul Ganguli’. Later, when the movie was made on this book with the same name, he got the lead role in the movie. More interestingly, Kal Penn was the favorite actor of the son of the director of ‘The Namesake’ and her agents’ sons’ too. Kal was once robbed at gunpoint at midnight in Washington DC, where he lost his wallet and other belongings.