In a film filled with speedsters, tricksters, and borderline gods, one ordinary man stole the hearts of audiences worldwide.
Harish Patel's Karun, the valet to Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo, skyrocketed in popularity among fans once Eternals hit theaters, so much so that Marvel Studios even gave him his very own character poster. Despite being a regular human being, Karun accompanied the immortal ensemble throughout their Celestial-stopping mission.
When he is first roped into the Eternals' ranks, Karun greets Richard Madden's Ikaris and Gemma Chan's Sersi with starstruck honor, noting how much he values "being in the presence of the great Eternals."
From this line of dialogue alone, it became clear that Kingo educated Karun on not only his true identity but the real history of his ever-lasting family.
Harish Patel Details Karun's Relationship With Kingo
He may have lost the documentary footage, but Karun has all the Eternal knowledge he needs stored away in his brain.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Direct's Liam Crowley, Harish Patel opened up about the decades of off-screen friendship between Karun and Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo. While some actors create their own backstory for their characters, Patel noted he focused on following exactly what was in the script:
"It is there. The relationship, the kind of camaraderie that Kingo and Karun have. Kingo has told him everything about the Eternals. It is there in the script, and I actually read scripts maybe a hundred times in total, because I find everything there in the script itself. It was clear that Kingo had actually told him everything about the Eternals, and he knows about it and he knows that he is an Eternal."
With the knowledge of the Eternals' history came the appreciation for who they were on the inside.
"[Even before he meets them], Karun knows that Eternals are very loving people. They are very caring, loving, and normal like human beings."
Patel added that his character was an expert at calming Kingo down during his mood swings, which weren't prominent in the final cut of the movie:
"Throughout in the 50 years I am with [Kingo], I know my job of what to do. He's the movie star and film actor and all. He'll be moody. I know how to handle him. Being polite with him, calming him down, always ready with anything for him."
Off-screen, Patel revealed that Nanjiani had uncertainty about his Bollywood dancing skills. As both an accomplished Bollywood actor in real life and an adaptive character on screen, Patel said he was ready at a moment's notice to hop in Kingo's place if necessary.
"Kumail has said that he couldn't dance and he was very hesitant about dancing. As Karun, I was even ready to replace him and dance instead of him. Karun was ready to replace him and dance instead of him. That's the kind of relationship they both have."
Eternals' Valiant Valet
One of the biggest strengths of Marvel Studios' Eternals is the various dynamics between the ensemble. From the heartwarming bond shared by Thena and Gilgamesh to the fan-favorite romance of Druig and Makkari, every Eternal had at least a single one-on-one relationship with another character.
While most dynamics took place within the Eternals' ranks, Kingo's strongest friendship came with his human valet, Karun. It's impossible to rival the centuries of history between the immortal ensemble, but Karun's loyalty to Kingo stands the test of human time. Spending decades by his side blossomed quite the trust between the two, enough so that the face of Bollywood's greatest dynasty confided his biggest secret in him.
Patel's passion for Karun goes beyond the script, but his comprehensive understanding of the character is what led to such an impactful performance. His dedication to director Chloe Zhao's vision allowed him to inadvertently create his own spotlight rather than stepping in others'.
It's not clear when fans will see Karun again, whether that be in a sequel or in the infamous documentary he was shooting during the course of Eternals, but Patel remains ready to step back into the driver's seat of Kingo's Lexus IS.
Eternals is in theaters now.