Podtalk: Richa Moorjani & Poorna Jagannathan on Season 3 of Netflix Series ‘Never Have I Ever’

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CHICAGO – The groundbreaking Netflix TV series “Never Have I Ever” heads to Season Three, with the continuing adventures of Davi and her teen pals. Part of the supporting cast is Cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani) and Mom Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan).

“Never Have I Ever” focuses on the Vishwakumar family from India and their cultural evolution in California, primarily spotlighting teenage Davi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). She is thrown into a tailspin when her father Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy in flashback) dies suddenly at Davi’s music recital. This leaves the family with a female base … her mother Nalini, a physician, and her cousin Kamala, who has moved to the states to complete her PhD at Caltech. Meanwhile Davi is navigating high school with her best buds Fabiola (Lea Rodriguez) and Eleanor (Ramona Young). Oh yes, and narrating the story in his inimitable style is tennis great John McEnroe, who was Mohan’s idol.

’Never Have I Ever’ Season Three
Photo credit: Netflix

In Season Three, Davi enters Junior Year with a number of new challenges. She is now one half of “Daxton,” since she is officially dating Paxton (Darren Barnet), the hottest and most popular guy at the school, and she wonders if she can keep up and trust the coupling. Her friends are going through their own issues … Fabiola has recently come out gay and Eleanor is dating class stoner Trent (Benjamin Norris). At home, Nailini continues to struggle with the loss of her husband, and Kamala is thinking of getting her own place. Can McEnroe make sense of it all?

“Never Have I Ever” was co-created by Lang Fisher and Mindy Kaling (“The Office”), based on Kaling’s own growing up experiences. The series has been praised for its distinct portrayal of South Asian upper-middle-class immigrant life as part of America’s melting pot, and is so funny it can actually make you happy. The female spirit is the energy of the show, countered by John McEnroe’s “character” as a disembodied voice somehow trying to chronicle an Indian teenage girl’s life.

Poorna Jagannathan and Richa Moorjani of ’Never Have I Ever’ Season Three
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com

Richa Moorjani as Kamala is a reflection of the work ethic of the modern Indian woman, as she struggles with the arranged marriage traditions while navigating a still patronizing and sexist world in her high science research field within the show … Moorjani has subsequently become an advocate of STEM studies for women of color. She began her performance life as a dancer and began acting in Los Angeles shortly after college. She landed the role in “Never Have I Ever” in 2020.

Poorna Jagannathan as matriarch Nalini has had a significant journey as a business leader, performer and social/cultural activist. She grew up as a diplomat’s daughter, and learned to speak five languages. After college and a year in an acting academy, she worked in the advertising industry, even starting her own agency. In 2004, she transitioned back into acting with roles in film and television.

In reaction to an infamous gang rape incident in Delhi in 2012, Ms. Jagannathan co-wrote and produced the stageplay “Nirbhaya” (FEARLESS), designed to break the silence on the sexual violence crisis upon Indian women, which was honored with the 2013 Amnesty International Award. Her work in activism has led her to be named among the Top 50 most powerful women in India and one of the “Top 100 Most Impactful Asians.”

In Part One of a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, Richa Moorjani (first question) and Poorna Jagannathan talk about their “Never Have I Ever” roles and backgrounds …

In Part Two, a discussion of Ms. Jagannathan’s activism (first question) and learning the rhythm of comic acting …

Trailer for “Never Have I Ever,” Season Three …

Season Three of “Never Have I Ever” premieres on Netflix on August 12th, 2022. Featuring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Richa Moorjani, Poorna Jagannathan, Lea Rodriguez, Ramona Young, Darren Barnet, Sendhil Ramamurthy and John McEnroe. Created by Lang Fisher and Mindy Kaling. Rated “TV-MA

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2022 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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