By Michael Melkonian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
LOS ANGELES — Ken Davitian, a prominent actor, best known for his co-starring role in the blockbuster comedy, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” continues to evolve and advance the Armenian cause and venture.
He was unforgettable in the movie, speaking Armenian when playing the role of Azamat Bagatov, the Kazakh agent of the title character. One of his most famous scenes in the movie involved wrestling Sacha Baron Cohen in the nude, a scene so shocking that it was one of the comedy’s stand-out clips.
After years of trying to get his big break in Hollywood, Davitian made his mark thanks to a breakout role in “Borat,” released in November 2006. With a budget of $18 million and box office revenue of $262 million, this critically-acclaimed film is labeled by many to be one of the greatest comedy films of this generation.
Recounting on how he got the role of Azamat, Davitian describes how tedious the process was. “The casting directors were looking for a shabby foreigner who didn’t speak very good English to play the role, which in a way, is like what many of our grandfathers were like when they came over,” Davitan stated. “I remember calling the casting agent multiple times to read for the role but was declined due to my American accent and nationality. The last call we made however, wasn’t to the casting director, but to the associate. I came in full character and acted just like a person like Azamat would’ve acted.” Many industry experts believed that Borat wouldn’t succeed commercially since its budget was considered too low for a movie to garner commercial success. However, Davitian and his co-star Sacha Baron Cohen were not fazed by the cynics. “We were in London in a cab, when one of the producers said to us that Tim Allen’s movie, ‘Santa Claus,’ is opening the same day as Borat,” Davitian said. “He said we aren’t going to be number one, so let’s just hope for number three. Sacha and I both said to the producer, you’re nuts.” Looking back at the huge commercial success of Borat, Cohen’s and Davitian’s predictions were spot on.