Mindy Kaling’s new Netflix series starring an up and coming Mississauga actress is now available
The COVID-19 quarantine has been extremely challenging for everyone, but one good thing has come of it: The ability to binge-watch a brand new Mindy Kaling-helmed Netflix series starring 18-year-old Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, an up and coming actress from Mississauga.
On April 27, Never Have I Ever premiered on the popular streaming service to significant fanfare and mostly rave reviews.
The coming of age comedy is centred around Devi, a smart, sarcastic teen who wants what so many teenage girls want: To be praised by her tough-as-nails mother and pursued by her crush.
Kaling, an actress, writer and producer, and Lang Fisher, writer of The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, are the writers, executive producers and creators of the show.
While Never Have I Ever might seem like your quintessential teen dramedy, it goes a little deeper. Devi, who is played by Ramakrishnan, is reeling from the sudden death of her father and a now-resolved case of sudden-onset paralysis that came and went with no medical explanation.
Unable to bring herself to talk about her father’s death to her delightfully candid and no-nonsense therapist (played by Niecy Nash), Devi processes her father’s tragic passing—which took place at a concert she was performing in—by looking for him in, of all things, surly and aggressive coyotes.
While the show is fun (to say the least) and worth watching for Kaling’s touch alone, the series is made even better by its homegrown star who beat the odds to land the part. In fact, Ramakrishnan was selected out of a pool of 15,000 people from around the world who responded to Kaling’s online post about the open casting call.
Believe it or not, this is actually Ramakrishnan’s on-screen debut.
In a Netflix Canada video titled From Mississauga to Netflix, Ramakrishnan says that growing up, she actually dreamed of becoming an animator.
“When I was in high school, I found that I really liked theatre and acting, so…Meadowvale Gang shoutout,” Ramakrishnan (who recently graduated from Meadowvale Secondary School) said in the video.
In the video, Ramakrishnan said she heard about Never Have I Ever after her best friend sent her Kaling’s tweet about the casting call.
“I had to send in a self-tape with the scripts that they sent us.”
A clip of her audition, in which she makes an on-point joke about A-cups and sports bras, is featured in the Netflix video.
Eventually, the producers asked her to come to Los Angeles.
“That really got me surprised,” she said.
In the video, Ramakrishnan said she remembers being on the phone with Kaling and Fisher when they told her she got the role.
“And all I could say was, ‘oh, that’s crazy.”
Ramakrishnan said it’s a lead role with a young, South Asian female, which is something that’s never been done and that representation is definitely needed.
When asked if she’ll move to LA permanently, Ramakrishnan told Netflix Canada that she isn’t sure and that she hopes to get a place in Toronto—her “forever home”—in the future.
Oh, and at the end, she adds that “Mississauga is the new L.A.”
While not everyone will agree with her good-humoured shoutout (although the city has appeared in a lot of big-name productions), the city couldn’t be more proud of her.
“Let’s give it up for [Ramakrishnan] for landing the leading role on Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie wrote on Twitter.
“Great to see our city’s talent represented in leading roles on the silver screen. Tune in, I know I will be!”
Cover photo courtesy of Ramakrishnan’s Facebook page
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