United Front
TVPlus - English|27 January 2022
Adhir Kalyan and Parker Young talk about buddy comedy, interpreting American life and more in United States of Al
US actor Parker Young and Durban-born Adhir Kalyan (son of politician Santosh Vinita “Sandy” Kalyan) place a new spin on the classic buddy comedy in the sitcom United States of Al, Fridays on M-Net (*101) at 19:00. They play US military veteran Riley and his former Afghan interpreter Al, who both feel like strangers to life in the USA as they deal with PTSD and, in Al’s case, the loss of home and family.

“The brotherhood that they share is unique to that time and space, and those extraordinary circumstances. This friendship is so important because Al is nowhere as an interpreter to help interpret Riley’s actions and behaviors to his family, to help bridge that gap. And in turn, Riley is there to help guide and lead Al toward a better understanding of what life in America is going to be like, with all of the beautiful things and some of the challenges that he will discover along the way,” explains Adhir.

In preparing for the series, did you get to speak to anyone from veteran service organisation No One Left Behind?

Parker: We’ve spoken with Janis Shinwari himself, the guy who helped create No One Left Behind. His story is so incredibly moving. Janis was an interpreter in Afghanistan. And he, through the Special Immigrant Visa Programme, came to the United States. A GoFundMe had been started on his behalf to help him to raise $35,000 so that he could start this new life. And he said, “Take this money back, and let’s help the thousands of other interpreters who are still waiting to be here, who deserve to be here.”

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