Last week weekend, Deadline reported that Universal won the rights to Mindy Kaling’s and Priyanka Chopra’s new untitled comedy about a big Indian wedding that takes place in both America and India. What’s it about? We don’t know much yet because the details are sparse, but we do know that it “revolves around a big wedding in India and the ensuing culture clashes” and was described as “Crazy Rich Asians meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
CRA meets MBFGW???? That could mean so many different things! The common thread in these two movies is that someone who is considered a “foreigner” (either by race or by class) is about to be married into an unwelcoming family. I think we can expect as much from Kaling’s movie, where an “outsider” must learn about Indian culture in order to make the marriage work and to prove his/her love. (That’s right, I’m calling for a lesbian, interracial, wedding comedy. What about it?)
I love me a good Indian wedding, and it’s really cool to see that one will be on the big screen, aimed at a Western audience. Indian weddings are filled with gossip and drama (our extended network of relatives almost guarantees this) and if you’ve ever been to one, you’ll know that they are grand affairs. “Indian wedding” is usually synonymous with “big wedding” so imagine what a “big Indian wedding” means in this context. Plus, if the movie is truly staying authentic to Indian culture, then the runtime is going to be four days long and showtimes will start at 5am. I don’t think people could handle that, especially after the complaints about Avengers: Endgame’s lack of an intermission. As Amy Santiago would say, “Diaper up!”
I’m speculating here, but I think that elements of an arranged marriage proposal will come into play here. It’s a relatable plotline for any Indian person aged 22 – 35, and one that’s the ripe for comedy. Kumail Nanjiani used it in The Big Sick and it was hilarious, but the resolution of his conflict came from Emily’s sickness. The plot was more about Kumail and Emily falling in love, and less about her being accepted by his family. Plus, it was based on a true story so it’s a little hard to compare.
Speaking of true stories, how much of the performance and storyline do you think will come from Priyanka’s marriage(s) to Nick Jonas? So far, the plot points add up. Big wedding in India. Crazy Rich Asians. America and India together. Kaling is writing the story with Dan Goor (from Brooklyn Nine-Nine) with an option of directing, meaning that Priyanka won’t have much say of the story, it seems. Nevertheless, wouldn’t it be amazing if this movie was an inspired glimpse into the drama behind her wedding to Nick (there must’ve been drama, right?). Their highly publicized (and sponsored) wedding is proof that this subject is popular and profitable, a good sign for the upcoming film. Priyanka is also a Bollywood actress, so acting in an Indian wedding is like kindergarten for her. Combined with Mindy’s writing talent, this movie is already stacked for success.
The most impressive part about the announcement was finding out which studios lost out on this film. Universal beat out Legendary, Sony, Netflix, and Amazon for Kaling’s comedy. This is huge. With the success of Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and now Captain Marvel, studios are (finally) coming to the (slow) realization that diversity is good business. This is Mindy’s second time being the belle at the auction ball after Amazon spent some serious dough in January for the rights to her work romance with Emma Thompson, Late Night. She’s building an empire, with an original series in the works for Netflix, and a whole host of other projects including a Hulu remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral. In an industry that has historically (and currently) given that right to privileged white men, it’s incredible that Mindy is such a hot commodity. It’s about f-cking time.