The team behind “Surina & Mel” are on a mission to bring authentic brown girl stories to your screen.
Written by ex “Modern Family” scribe Sameer Gardezi and starring Melanie Chandra (“Code Black”) and Surina Jindal (“Outsourced“), the pilot teaser alone promises to be a unique take on the usual odd-couple friendships. Surina and Mel are best friends who happen to be South Asian women. Their adventures aren’t necessarily shaped by their ethnicity but it does play an important role in their lives.
According to the description, “Surina & Mel” is about ‘two American-born South Asian women living in New York City who are figuring out what life looks like when you’re not quite a model minority nor a Bollywood star fighting terrorism on an ABC show, but kinda just two best friends dealing with the reality of the adult world.’
Chandra and Jindal play a fictionalized version of themselves because their characters and the story is inspired by their real life friendship. Mel is a type A personality and Surina just doesn’t have time for any bullshit. Their dynamic is relatable and simply put, funny. It’s exactly the kind of representation we haven’t seen on TV before: two brown best friends exploring adulthood.
When the “Surina & Mel” developers and creators couldn’t find enough backing for their script, they decided not to wait on anyone else to approve their pilot. They took it upon themselves to produce and film the script.
On the website, they mention that “within a month, they rallied a team together of predominantly women and people of color who were also behind their mission, and a few weeks later, while Melanie was 7.5 months pregnant, they completed production in three days. Through this piece, they hope to demonstrate that a show starring two brown women can be both specific and inclusive at the same time.”
Through “Surina & Mel,” their goal is to provide a narrative that’s been sorely amiss on TV.
While South Asian representation is definitely on the rise, there is still a long way to go in terms of fully developed characters who aren’t drowning in stereotypes. There are no shows about South Asian-American families, friendships, and relationships in lieu of great shows like “Blackish” and “Fresh off the Boat.”
It’s time to prove there is an audience for the type of content “Surina & Mel” aims to bring.
The cast of the first episode includes Chandra, Jindal, Vinny Anand, Reema Sampat, Tommy Beardmore, Nick Sadhnani, and Nick Fondulis. It is written by Gardezi, whose Muslim-American digital series “East of La Brea” was recently greenlit. The episode is directed by “Brown Nation” creator Abi Varghese.