By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 6 (IANS) Indian American actor comedian Aziz Ansari has been named "The Next Big Thing" among 17 stars to watch by the US business magazine Forbes.
"Funny People" grossed $70 million at the global box office last year, but the film introduced the world to the foul-mouthed standup comic Raaaaaaaandy, a creation of comic Aziz Ansari, 27, whose parents emigrated from Tamil Nadu.
The gig earned him a three-picture deal with Apatow and GE's Universal Pictures. With his partner Jason Woliner, Ansari is working on a movie about Raaaaaaaandy as well as a road trip film about two motivational speakers, Forbes reported.
In addition to his film development work, Ansari co-stars on the NBC comedy "Parks and Recreation" where he plays wannabe ladies man Tom Haverford.
The show has struggled with ratings but has helped grow Ansari's fan base. He recently hosted the MTV Movie Awards, holding his own with performers like Tom Cruise and Sandra Bullock.
Ansari is a big proponent of the web. He has 260,000 followers on Twitter and he uses his website, Aziz is Bored, to show videos he's made, including several from the MTV Movie Awards, promote his concert tours and link to his favourite music videos.
Ansari looks at social media as "an interesting way to kind of connect with your audience".
"It's weird because now, if you like a celebrity you can know so much about them through social media, like what TV shows and music they like, things like that," he told Forbes.
He and a frequent collaborator, Jason Woliner, are writing some movies to do with producer Judd Apatow, he said. "Jason will direct and I will star in them. We are in the early stages of writing them, but the goal is to shoot one of them on my next hiatus from Parks and Recreation."
Others in the stars to watch list include teenage singer Justin Bieber, multiple Grammy award winning "Kings of Leon" group, "Twilight" star Taylor Lautner and Zoe Saldana, who portrayed Neytiri in James Cameron's epic "Avatar".