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Maitreyi Ramakrishnan on Never Have I Ever: People have been waiting for this representation

In an interview with PTI, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who essays the role of Devi, talks about South Asian representation and relatability with regards to the latest season of the hit Netflix series, Never Have I Ever.

Anukriti Chaturvedi
Jul 17, 2021
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Maitreyi Ramakrishnan stars as Devi Vishakumar in Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher’s young adult Netflix series, Never Have I Ever. She landed the role, beating out 15,000 other candidates who auditioned for it: the Immigrant overachiever Indian teenager, navigating life after a huge loss.

In a recent interview with PTI, Ramakrishnan talked about the representation of South Asians in mainstream series. She confessed that she felt under pressure after a successful debut of the first season but then decided to rather than stressing, enjoy the process. 

She cited South Asian representation as being one of the reasons for the popularity of the series. “We haven’t seen South Asians take the lead role as often as they should”, she mentioned. She further added that it has happened before since they carve out their own space. She gave the example of Mindy Kaling who starred as well as wrote the hit comedy series, The Mindy Project, to substantiate her theory. 

Ramakrishnan went on to say that there is both a need and want for more representation since there is a market for it.

The first season featured Devi as a rebellious teenager with anger issues as she grappled with the death of her father. She harbours a crush on a fellow student, Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnett) but by the end of the season, ends up in a love triangle with Ben Gross (Jaren Lewinson), her arch-nemesis. 

The second season follows Devi, who tries to date both Paxton and Ben at the same time, in a bid to figure out for whom she has stronger feelings. Meanwhile, Dr Nandini Vishwakumar (Poorna Jagannathan) is planning to shift back to India when a romantic interest enters her life.

Maitreyi says that Devi is trying to become more mature and handling her grief in a better way and trying to let go of the anger and overall, trying to become a good person even if she ends up unsuccessful at times.

“I think she’s grown up a little bit and she understands that there are consequences to her actions”, the actor said

The Sri Lankan-Canadian actor also talked about how the pandemic changed her life and credited her mother who propelled her into the art direction. 

“It’s helped me stay true to who I am, which I’m very thankful for”, the actor said on living with her family during the quarantine period. 

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