New Jersey-based filmmaker Abi Varghese, on his latest show and tackling diversity with humour.
Modern Family meets The Office in the brand new Netflix sitcom, Brown Nation. Directed by Abi Varghese—co-creator of one of India’s first web series, the cult online Malayalam sitcom, Akkara Kazhchakal—this 10-episode satirical series now airs in 190 countries. It revolves around the everyday life of a struggling business owner.
“The plot fluctuates between protagonist Hasmukh Parikh’s dysfunctional family life and his failing IT company,” begins the 34-year-old Indian-American, whose short film, Return Address, was showcased at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2010. “The 25-minute episodes are filled with subtle situational humour, as Hasmukh precariously balances issues surrounding his wannabe artist wife, their dog and live-in father-in-law, all the while making hilarious attempts to keep his IT firm afloat by working with indolent employees,” he further adds.
Shot in the outskirts of New York, the lighthearted show “highlights the life of all brown-skinned communities in the backdrop of NYC”. Brown Nation boasts of a cast spread over 20 nationalities, including Indian-origin actors like Omi Vaidya (3 Idiots), Melanie Chandra (Code Black), Shenaz Treasurywala (Delhi Belly) and New York-based theatre veteran, Rajeev Varma. “This show falls into an untapped category, which caters to Indians and an international audience. It is truly one of the most independent and diverse projects ever undertaken by Netflix. I honestly hope that this opens the doors for a lot of indie filmmakers,” shares Varghese, who has just wrapped up shooting Metropark, a Hindi-English comedy series (starring actor Ranvir Shorey), which follows the life of a Punjabi expat family.