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Mindy Kaling Casts Toronto-Area Teen Maitreyi Ramakrishnan In New Netflix Series

Ramakrishnan will make her onscreen debut in Kaling's semi-autobiographical series.
Tamil Canadian/Handout/The Canadian Press

For the last year and a bit, Mindy Kaling has been busy — she’s materialized onscreen in numerous roles (ahem, “Oceans 8,” “Last Night,” “A Wrinkle In Time”) and recently announced her upcoming Netflix series — a 10-episode coming-of-age comedy based partially on her own childhood.

And now, Canadian fans have even more reason celebrate Mindy: it was just reported that Kaling has selected Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, a mostly unknown Toronto-area teen, to star in the forthcoming show.

What do we know about all of this? Well, reader, just a few scant details at the moment. Mississauga Ont.-based Ramakrishnan is a fresh face. There isn’t much out there about her, other than a couple of snapshots from a role she had in a theatre production of “Chicago.”

Ramakrishnan didn’t even have representation before she was cast in the role of Devi, a “modern-day, first-generation Indian American teenage girl” whose short fuse, in spite of her overachieving tendencies, never fails to land her in all kinds of trouble (Ramakrishnan is now represented by Sandra Gillis of Premier Artists’ Management in Toronto).

All of that is to say that this will be Ramakrishnan’s onscreen debut. And what a debut it will be.

More than 15,000 people auditioned for the role, and that out of that massive sea of applications, Ramakrishnan was selected.

If a perfect post-secondary gig exists, it’s this one. From the looks of it, Ramakrishnan just graduated from high school. It appears she was a student at Meadowvale Secondary School, a high school in Mississauga that, until now, has been popularly known only for having made a cameo in some low budget 1988 film called “The Brain” (a sci-fi flick about — no joke — a giant, brain-like alien seeking absolute world domination).

That Ramakrishnan is really young (probably about 17, by our calculations) brings her closer to her lead role. Though much about this new show has been kept under wraps, Kaling has said that the titular character will be a high-school sophomore.

A cursory look at Ramakrishnan’s Instagram also yields a couple of hobbies. She likes hiking. She goes to art galleries. She’s a Sagittarius! She’s politically engaged.

“We feel so much excitement to be bringing this story to life, and a responsibility, too. Depicting what it’s like to be a young desi woman right now—a real girl with real desires, ambitions & problems,” Kaling tweeted.

“Not just an Indian American culture presented to us as side characters on a show. We love that this extremely special and hilarious young woman gets to help us tell that story.”

No premiere date for the show has been set yet, and we still don’t have a name for it. We know that it will begin production in Los Angeles in late July, and that Kaling co-created, co-wrote and executive produced the show with Lang Fisher, who Kaling previously worked with on “The Mindy Project.”

Kaling has been clear that the show isn’t fully autobiographical.

“I think people have reported that it’s about my childhood and it’s not about my childhood, it’s just about a 15-year-old Indian-American girl growing up in 2019,” Kaling told Entertainment Weekly in April. “So there will be, of course, lots of experience pulled from my childhood, but it is really about a girl today.”

It’s also been reported that Kaling will not have a starring role in the upcoming show, that she’s consciously pivoted to focusing more on writing and producing shows.

While the show might not be focusing specifically on her childhood, we’re sure fans will be excited to see how Kaling weaves her own lessons and experiences into the story — and to see a Canadian face front and centre.

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