Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

R.I.P. Kumar Pallana (1918-2013) aka Mr. Pagoda In 'The Royal Tenebaums' & Mr. Little Jeans In 'Rushmore'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 11, 2013 at 9:07AM

"Wes Anderson starts coming because we have the chess night," Kumar Pallana told The Believer in 2003. about meeting the director in his Texas coffee shop Cosmic Cup. "On Tuesday or Wednesday we have the jazz music. All the musicians I know, I see practicing at home, I say, 'Why don’t you come and practice with us? Let the people know that you are making a noise.' Then we had people like you, the storytellers. They bring their own group, four or five friends. They both came, Owen [Wilson] and Wes. They just finished college, the both of them. They heard that this is the place, every night something different. Wes used to come up and take a lot of pictures. Small camera, you know. And he became a really good friend. We all are, all the [Wilson] brothers."
1
Kumar Pallana The Terminal

"Wes Anderson starts coming because we have the chess night," Kumar Pallana told The Believer in 2003. about meeting the director in his Texas coffee shop Cosmic Cup. "On Tuesday or Wednesday we have the jazz music. All the musicians I know, I see practicing at home, I say, 'Why don’t you come and practice with us? Let the people know that you are making a noise.' Then we had people like you, the storytellers. They bring their own group, four or five friends. They both came, Owen [Wilson] and Wes. They just finished college, the both of them. They heard that this is the place, every night something different. Wes used to come up and take a lot of pictures. Small camera, you know. And he became a really good friend. We all are, all the [Wilson] brothers."

It's that little connection that brought lifelong entertainer Kumar Pallana back into the spotlight late in life, but sadly, the charming, humorous and graceful man has passed away at 94 years old. While many know him for his small but memorable appearances in "Bottle Rocket," "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums," for Pallana those were just a few gigs in a fascinating life probably worthy of a movie itself. The India-born Pallana traveled the world, and was known for decades as Kumar Of India, who wowed audiences with plate-spinning, balancing acts, swordplay and more, appearing on a wide range of shows including "Captain Kangaroo" and "The Mickey Mouse Club."

After settling in Dallas and opening a small store, it was Anderson and the Wilson brothers who rediscovered Pallana and found a place for his unique presence in their films. "We play cards and all the bridge and poker and everything. We became very good friends, and they told me, they said, 'We are writing,' " Kumar told The Believer about how he got into their films. "They wanted to shoot the movie, the 'Bottle Rocket.' And I didn’t pay much attention to what kind of movie it was. They go to Los Angeles and finally they come and they say, 'Yeah, we are shooting the movie. And here is your part.' And that’s where it started." And those small roles certainly brought Pallana attention as he was recruited by other filmmakers for their movies including Steven Spielberg ("The Terminal"), John Turturro ("Romance & Cigarettes") and Brad Siberling ("10 Items Or Less"). 

Pallana led a life that was quietly extraordinary, and seemed to carry that with him in his very stature, a quality Anderson savvily realized. When Royal Tenenbaum says that Mr. Pagoda saved his life in Calcutta, it takes one look at Pallana to believe every word. [AV Club]

This article is related to: Kumar Pallana


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates