Actor Ranjit Chowdhry, who played Vikram in The Office, Dr. Gudat in Prison Break and made many other appearances in television and film, has died at age 64. Chowdhry passed away in his home city of Mumbai, India after he’d travelled from the US for a dental procedure. He was scheduled to fly back to the US on April 8th, but because of flight restrictions related to the Coronavirus pandemic, he had to remain in India. While there he suffered a ruptured ulcer in his intestine and despite the efforts of surgeons, he died on Wednesday morning.
The Office fans will be familiar with his portrayal of Vikram, who appeared in seasons 4 and 5 of the show. We’re introduced to the character when Michael takes a night job at a diet pill company. He discovers that Vikram’s sales figures are significantly higher than his co-workers, with his reasoning for this being, “Well, I’m the only one here who’s not lazy.”
Vikram went on to reappear in season 5, briefly joining the Michael Scott Paper Company. However, after realizing that they don’t have a business plan and are doomed to fail in the long-term, he returned to the diet pill company, leaving the team with the maxim: “Confidence. It’s the food of the wise man, but the liquor of the fool.”
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He also made a memorable appearance in Prison Break, reattaching T-Bag’s hand after it was chopped off. Sadly for him, this good deed resulted in T-Bag injecting him with lethal chemicals so he couldn’t inform the police as to his location.
Aside from these two roles, Chowdhry appeared in many Indian television shows and films before moving to Canada in the early 1990s and successfully transitioning to the domestic entertainment industry. He also wrote and starred in the 1991 movie Sam & Me.
Indian star Rahul Khanna paid tribute to Chowdhry on social media, saying:
“Gutted to learn of #RanjitChowdhry’s passing. Despite his diminutive frame, he was a towering icon of Indian diaspora cinema and a master of his craft. By far, one of the most endearingly quirky and acerbically witty people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. A true original!”
Chowdhry will be sorely missed by The Office fans and the world of television is poorer without him.