Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2002 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 10 Best Films Of 2001 The 10 Best Films Of 2001 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' 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 Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

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.


E-Mail Updates