Big Bang Theory: The real-life inspiration behind Raj’s selective mutism revealed

Raj Koothrappali (played by Kunal Nayyar) quickly endeared himself to fans in the early series of The Big Bang Theory. He may have been a highly-intellectual and funny individual but Raj found it impossible to talk to women in the early seasons without alcohol thanks to his selective mutism. While it may seem like the trait was added for comedic effect, writer Bill Prady was actually inspired by true events.

Raj’s selective mutism was actually inspired by a former colleague of co-creator Prady.

Before creating Big Bang on CBS, Prady had written a number of other hit TV shows.

His CV includes writing jobs on ABC sitcom Dharma & Greg and Caroline in the City among others.

However, it was a friend and co-worker during his days as a computer programmer that inspired the character of Raj.

Speaking to Page Six back in 2010, actor Nayyar explained the decision.

When asked if Raj’s inability to speak to women was a real thing, he said: “It is a recognised disease called selective mutism.

“The character is based on a friend of [co-creator] Bill Prady’s who had this pathological shyness.

“He’s since gotten married and had kids, so he’s been cured of it.”

After having his heart broken by Lucy (Kate Micucci) in season six, Raj finally overcame the selective mutism.

When being comforted by Penny (Kaley Cuoco) following their break-up, she suggested he was emotional because of the alcohol she presumed he’d been drinking.

This had been the only way Raj could interact with women previously.

However, Raj admitted he hadn’t had a drink since the night before and the revelation that he had overcome his mutism sunk in.

From then on, Raj had no such problem with the opposite sex, embarking on several relationships over the course of the series.

After Lucy, Raj dated Emily (Laura Spencer) and Claire (Alessandra Torresani) at the same time.

However, neither romance was to last and Raj appeared to have finally found the one in season 12.

Raj and Anu (Rati Gupta) were all set to wed in the final ever series before a move to London for her work threw a spanner in the works.

Raj decided to stay in LA, USA and Big Bang came to an end with Raj still single.

The Big Bang Theory is available to stream on Netflix now.

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