‘The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar Boards Animated Feature ‘Diya’ From Reel FX Originals As EP; Nitya Mehra To Direct

EXCLUSIVE: Nitya Mehra (Baar Baar Dekho) and Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) are teaming with Reel FX Originals on Diya—a new animated feature in the vein of its 2014 20th Century Fox title, The Book of Life. Mehra will direct the new film, with Nayyar serving as executive producer.

Directed by Jorge R. Gutiérrez and produced by Guillermo del Toro, The Book of Life was a tale based in Mexican mythology which followed Manolo (Diego Luna), a bullfighter embarking on a fantastical adventure on the Day of the Dead. Diya will also be a mythology-based fantasy adventure, honing in on the folklore of India.

Shiwani Srivastava (Netflix’s Wedding Season) and Dr. Amy Bhatt wrote the script. Producers are Steve O’Brien and Jared Mass of Reel FX Originals. Nayyar is exec producing through his company, Good Karma Productions, alongside his head of production, Jason Hiro Kim (Gook), with Lucas Koppel serving as executive in charge of production on behalf of Reel FX Originals.

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Mehra made her directorial and screenwriting debut in 2016 on the hit Hindi-language feature, Baar Baar Dekho, then receiving critical acclaim for her film, Chaand Mubaarak, in the Hindi-language anthology, Unpaused. She is showrunner, executive producer and director of the Amazon series, Made In Heaven, which is currently in post-production for its second season. Her upcoming slates also includes a new series with Amazon Prime, as well as projects with Roy Kapur Films, Excel Entertainment and Rainshine Global. Mehra started her career as an assistant director to acclaimed filmmakers Ang Lee and Mira Nair on the films Life of Pi and The Namesake, respectively.

Nayyar is an actor-producer best known for playing Raj Koothrappali on CBS’ hit sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, who has also lent his voice to the hit animation film franchises Trolls and Ice Age. He currently stars in the Apple TV+ series Suspicion and will next be seen in the Netflix feature Spaceman. Through Good Karma Productions, he most recently executive produced Vertical Entertainment’s romance The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, in which he also stars.

Srivastava is a ScreenCraft award-winning writer whose debut screenplay Wedding Season, produced by Netflix and Imagine Entertainnment, is set for release as a feature this year. A writer, museum curator and academic, Bhatt is also the author of High-Tech Housewives and the co-author of Roots & Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest.

Reel FX Originals is an award-winning division of Reel FX Animation that also previously produced the comedy Free Birds, starring Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson. The company’s most recent film, Rumble, starring Will Arnett and Geraldine Viswanathan, is an original animated family comedy about a reluctant monster athlete and his human wrestling coach, which debuted last December on Paramount+. Also coming up from Reel FX is the Netflix 3D animated action comedy Super Giant Robot Brothers! from Oscar-winning director Mark Andrews (Brave), which debuts this summer. The company will unveil its latest short film, La Calesita, at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival later this month.

Mehra is represented by Zero Gravity Management and D’Artist Talent Ventures; Nayyar by Innovative Artists and Lovett Management; and Srivastava and Bhatt by Affirmative Entertainment, A3 Artists Agency and attorney Mark Temple.

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