Washington: Indian American actor comedian Aziz Ansari has been named `The Next Big Thing` among 17 stars to watch by the US business magazine Forbes.
`Funny People` grossed $70 million at the global box office last year, but the film introduced the world to the foul-mouthed standup comic Raaaaaaaandy, a creation of comic Aziz Ansari, 27, whose parents emigrated from Tamil Nadu.
The gig earned him a three-picture deal with Apatow and GE`s Universal Pictures. With his partner Jason Woliner, Ansari is working on a movie about Raaaaaaaandy as well as a road trip film about two motivational speakers, Forbes reported.
In addition to his film development work, Ansari co-stars on the NBC comedy `Parks and Recreation` where he plays wannabe ladies man Tom Haverford.
The show has struggled with ratings but has helped grow Ansari`s fan base. He recently hosted the MTV Movie Awards, holding his own with performers like Tom Cruise and Sandra Bullock.
Ansari is a big proponent of the web. He has 260,000 followers on Twitter and he uses his website, Aziz is Bored, to show videos he`s made, including several from the MTV Movie Awards, promote his concert tours and link to his favourite music videos.
Ansari looks at social media as `an interesting way to kind of connect with your audience`.
`It`s weird because now, if you like a celebrity you can know so much about them through social media, like what TV shows and music they like, things like that,` he told Forbes.
He and a frequent collaborator, Jason Woliner, are writing some movies to do with producer Judd Apatow, he said. `Jason will direct and I will star in them. We are in the early stages of writing them, but the goal is to shoot one of them on my next hiatus from Parks and Recreation.`
Others in the stars to watch list include teenage singer Justin Bieber, multiple Grammy award winning `Kings of Leon` group, `Twilight` star Taylor Lautner and Zoe Saldana, who portrayed Neytiri in James Cameron`s epic `Avatar`.