It was 25 years ago today… Thursday, Oct 17 2013 

The Traveling Wilburys (that extraordinary supergroup consisting of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne) released their first single on this day in 1988. Enjoy! I think it still holds up nicely, all these years later.

Coming Soon: The Aerogram Monday, Feb 11 2013 


Happy belated new year, everyone! I have some exciting news to share. Two former Sepia Mutiny colleagues and I are getting ready to launch a new South Asian news and culture site, The Aerogram.

Here’s our official description:

Like its compact, fold-able namesake, The Aerogram seeks to share personalized news, insights, opinions, and more.

While our site isn’t live yet, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook. I hope to bring you much more new information in the days and weeks ahead.

The inevitable Tollywood/Gangnam Style mashup has arrived Sunday, Oct 21 2012 

What happens when you combine a viral pop song with some Tollywood dance moves? The answer can be found in the video above. According to the Huffington Post, the scenes featured are from the 2006 Telugu film Ashok and “bring a merry twist to the catchy song and dance.” Enjoy!

Former Outsourced stars team up for mock voter PSA Thursday, Oct 11 2012 


Remember Outsourced, the short-lived NBC comedy set in an Indian call center? Stars Parvesh Cheena and Rizwan Manji are back together again in this newly-released mock voter PSA urging everyone to vote on November 6. (Here in New York the deadline to register is this Friday, so everyone should hurry.)

This isn’t the first time Cheena and Manji have collaborated on a web video since Outsourced’s cancellation; the two also produced a faux Lowes commercial during last year’s All-American Muslim controversy.


The ‘Salman Khan scarf’ comes to Afghanistan Thursday, Sep 27 2012 

The Washington Post reports that teenage boys in Afghanistan are rushing to buy “narrow, boldly hued” multi-colored scarves as part of a new trend inspired by Salman Khan’s character in the film Ek Tha Tiger. The trend apparently started after the video for the song Mashallah (above) was released.

As Richard Leiby reports:

The look gradually caught on with teenage boys after the [Mashallah video's] summer release, and the scarves now add striking dashes of color — red, orange, blue and striped combinations — to the drab, forbidding landscape of Kabul, which bristles with steel-and-wire encampments and machines of war.

It is but one signifier of increased outside cultural influences here, particularly among the young, to the chagrin of some older Afghans. They see an erosion of the Islamic ways as people reject traditional dress to keep in step with Bollywood and Hollywood.

Later on in the article we get the requisite quote from a taxi driver, who says, “I am totally against these Western influences. If a movie actor would take his pants off and put them over his shoulder, the next day you would see it in Kabul.”

While the article’s interesting and paints a portrait of what life is like for the youth of Kabul, I wonder about how accurate it all is. After all, Salman Khan’s paternal grandfather was born in Afghanistan and the actor has described himself as “half Muslim and half Hindu”, two facts that don’t make him sound particularly ‘Western.’ Additionally, Bollywood’s popularity in Afghanistan has been well-documented and Afghans have been watching Indian films for generations, making Salman Khan’s popularity nothing new. (Also, the conflation of Bollywood and Western culture throughout the piece is one of the stranger parts of the article.)

The scarves look nice though.

Why “The Mindy Project” Matters Wednesday, Sep 26 2012 

Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell has been my favorite new show this season (for a sample of the reasons why check out this and this.)

Comedian Hari Kondabolu is a writer for the show and recently did this web exclusive on why Mindy Kaling’s new sitcom is good for Indian-Americans everywhere. And yes, he mentions both Apu and the Metro PCS guys. Check it out:

Archie Panjabi: My mother said I was destined to be an actress Saturday, Sep 22 2012 

Archie Panjabi visited Live with Kelly and Michael Thursday to promote the upcoming season of The Good Wife (which returns on Sept 30 on CBS). In addition to sharing her love for macaroni and cheese and other American foods, Panjabi revealed that her mother predicted she’d become an actress shortly after her birth.

“Apparently when I popped out of my mum, my mum looked at me and just went ‘There was something in your eyes that said, I want to be an actress’,” the Emmy-nominated actress told the hosts. She added that her parents originally intended to name her Aarti but that her mother then changed it to Archana (which means worship) because she thought her daughter would move to America when she grew up to become an actress.

“So, I’m thinking if I have a child, I’m going to call it Oscar,” she joked.

Fox Releases Trailer for ‘The Mindy Project’ Monday, May 14 2012 

It’s official: Mindy Kaling’s new comedy The Mindy Project will debut on Fox this fall.

The network announced this morning that the half-hour sitcom will air at 9:30 EST on Tuesday nights, following fellow media darling Zooey Deschanel’s show New Girl.

The show’s official synopsis is below:

THE MINDY PROJECT is a new single-camera comedy from Emmy Award-nominated writer/producer and New York Times best-selling author Mindy Kaling (“The Office”) that follows a woman who, despite having a successful career, desperately needs to break bad habits in her personal life. After all, how many doctors make inappropriate toasts at their ex-boyfriend’s wedding, nearly drown at the bottom of a stranger’s pool and get arrested for disorderly conduct just moments before having to deliver a baby? Funny, impatient and politically incorrect, MINDY LAHIRI (Kaling) can quote every romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan that exists. She loves the good ones and the bad ones, because the girl always gets the guy. Mindy is determined to be more punctual, spend less money, lose weight and read more books – all in pursuit of becoming a well-rounded perfect woman…who can meet and date the perfect guy. Mindy is a skilled OB/GYN and shares a practice with a few other doctors, none of whom make life any easier for her.

Kaling has said in past interviews that she decided to make her character a gynecologist because her mother is one. Given that fun fact, lets all be quietly grateful the show’s original title, It’s Messy, was quietly nixed.

90210′s Manish Dayal wants you to Be the Match Tuesday, Apr 10 2012 

90210 actors Manish Dayal (who played Raj Kher) and Gillian Zinser (Ivy) released this PSA last month for the Be the Match foundation. The spot was produced as part of Be The Match’s efforts to create a younger and more diverse registry.

ETA: There are montages galore of Raj and Ivy’s relationship on YouTube. Here’s an example. (SPOILER alert gleaned from the YouTube comments: Dayal’s character was killed off this season.)

Mathai Rocks ‘The Voice’ Thursday, Mar 1 2012 

Could an 18-year-old singer named Mathai be the next winner of NBC’s The Voice?

Billboard called Mathai’s performance on the show last week “awe-inspiring” and noted she was “one of the few [contestants] who understands nuance and power.”

I hope that as the season progresses we’ll get to see Mathai do more ballads. This 2010 talent show performance, in which a 16-year-old Mathai covers Adele’s version of To Make You Feel My Love, is incredible. (You can check out more of her songs at her official YouTube channel.)

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