Did anyone catch the premiere of the new NBC drama Smash? It debuted on Monday after a multi-million dollar promotional campaign and many hope that it will be the hit show NBC desperately needs. The hour-long musical drama is about the creation of a Broadway show based on the life of Marilyn Monroe and is produced by Steven Spielberg.
British actor Raza Jaffrey plays Dev Sundaram, the live-in boyfriend of main character/Broadway actress Karen Cartwright (played by former American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee). Jaffrey’s best known for his role as Zafar Younis in the BBC drama Spooks.
From his character’s mini-bio on the show’s official website:
Devan “Dev” Sundaram was born in Wimbledon in the United Kingdom, but has split his time with relatives in Queens for much of his life and has lived in New York City for several years. With a B.A. in Classics and Political Science from Oxford University and M.A.s in Communications (from Columbia University) and International Relations and Journalism (from NYU), Dev has worked as Deputy Press Secretary in Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s office since 2010. He lives in Lower Manhattan with his girlfriend, Karen Cartwright.
Masters degrees plural. Of course. It will be interesting to see how the show portrays New York’s South Asian community and, since the show films in New York, to see if they visit any notable landmarks. I also wonder if there will be any subplots involving the character’s relatives in Queens. I only caught a few minutes of the episode, so I don’t have an opinion on the show yet. The entire pilot episode can be seen here.
What is it about NBC and Indians? Almost every series has at least a token Indian if not one of the leads. My guess is that there is a good representation of Indians among the suits there.
I did watch it, since my family enjoys musicals. I’m no theater critic, but the show benefits from not having a song every five minutes. The “show about making a show” concept works pretty well. Plus, instead of just singing songs everyone is likely to know, they do make an effort to write some original songs. The relationship between Dev and Karen (Katharine McPhee) is sweet, and does not shy away from their more private moments. For a change of pace, Karen’s parents are the ones pressuring her to marry Dev because they think he is a catch. But, since this is a night-time soap, we can probably expect that their relationship will either become strained or will not last. As for the songs, the strongest is the final one “Let Me Be Your Star.” One the negative side, Debra Messing is a one note actress who is extremely boring to watch, and Angelica Huston was under-utilized.
I am a big fan of more Indians being cast on television. I don’t know what it is about NBC, but tell me why the heck there isn’t an Indian doctor on grey’s anatomy. Where is Dr. McGupta when you need him? I asked this question on my blog and was told its just not a popular idea. What the hell is that supposed to mean? If its about attractiveness, don’t tell me you can’t find a hot indian actor out there – that I refuse to believe. I haven’t watched the show but will try to catch it for sure.
Kal Penn is the go-to Indian-American actor for all things Hollywood. He was on “House” if I remember right. Though I wouldn’t classify him as “hot” .
I vaguely remember hearing about a South Asian intern character on Grey’s Anatomy (according to IMDB she was played by Amrapali Ambegaokar ), and there was that random Dr. Raj (so original!) that used to hang out in the background during the early years. But, yes, I don’t think they’ve ever had a major South Asian character or storyline.
Let’s just hope he doesn’t play the role of the emasculated Asian male that many shows are bent on assigning to Indian characters (see: Maulik Pancholi on 30 Rock, that Teemir character on Rules of Engagement, and more that I can’t think of). That, and I am glad that he won’t have an accent (that guy on Big Bang Theory).
I like that there are more South Asian actors on TV, but why can’t they just be regular people rather than caricatures?
Well, to be fair, “regular” people do not make for interesting television. Networks are filled with reality shows that have “regular” people doing forgettable things. As for the shows you cite, on “Rules of Engagement”, all the men are messed up. One frequents escorts, one is dumb as a doornail, and one plays the inconsiderate husband to a T. The non-Indian guys on Big Bang Theory are not going to be in an Esquire spread anytime soon or win the Manliest Man contest.
Also, I’ve seen interviews with the actor who plays Raj on BBT, and his accent on the show is his accent in real life. It wasn’t put on, and they managed to weave it into his backstory, so I don’t think it’s that big of an issue.
Yup, Kunal Nayyar (the actor who plays Raj on BBT) was raised in Delhi and came to the States for undergrad. Though sometimes it sounds like he’s exaggerating his accent on BBT.
Enjoyed the reading and thank you for sharing the knowledge. .
So.. can’t say how I know, but there will actually be a Bollywood scene/episode. Spoiler alert, but not really, because you knew that was coming.