Indian women will appear as exotic nurses in an American mini web series of 50 episodes.

Can I say, Finally? It is too that most of Hollywood does not portray women in a positive light. I can already hear protests all the way from the regressive people of India who cannot even take the new modernized version of the Mahabharata without thinking of the “good ole days.” Psssssssssssst.

Oh, “exotic nurses?” Please. What on earth is that supposed to mean?

The series’ being produced by a California-based production company named ‘Big Fantastic’ is a prequel to best-selling author Robin Cook’s latest medical thriller, Foreign Body, which is centres n medical tourism in India.

Its producers have revealed that the novel’s storyline will pick up from where the web series ends on August 4.

As regards its plot, the producers have revealed that the women are taken in by a group of “young, cut throat medical entrepreneurs who hope to train them and cultivate their nursing skills for their own mysterious ends.”

Cook has himself supplied the outline for the prequel, the episodes of which have been filmed in Los Angeles and Delhi.

Cast member Rachna Khatau has revealed that she is playing a free-spirited Indian woman named Samira Patel, who grabs an opportunity to chase the American dream.

She admits that her character “gets a little wild” when she tastes the freedom offered in America.

Shamita Dasgupta, who heads the New Jersey-based South Asian women’s rights group, Manavi, says that the series promises a “parade of scantily clad brown bodies of Indian women”.

“As an immigrant from India and a feminist activist in the South Asian American community, my first reaction is to say, hurray, at least I will get to see some faces that look like me. Also, I rejoice that a few Indian actors are getting visible jobs,” the BBC quoted her as saying.

Her second reaction was, however, more guarded.

“Here we go again, I say. Historically, Hollywood portrayed Asian women as mysterious, bizarre and strange and contributed a lot to their being perceived as such. Now, Indian women are being exoticised and presented as sneaky murderous intrigue-mongers,” she said.

“The ‘Indian’ characters in Foreign Body are nurses, who are as far away from any care-giving mission or characteristics as possible. These women will be unleashed in the US to wreak havoc in the health care community and perhaps even in the system. Could this be a sign of the dominant community’s palpable alarm at the increasing health care tourism to India? Most likely,” she added.

Another actress Pranidhi Varshney, who portrays a girl born and raised in India in the series, said that she did not have any qualms about playing a “sexy Indian nurse”.

Both Khatau and Varshney said that their families had been supportive of their new roles.

Khatau, who claims that her parents have not missed a single episode of the show, said that the producers had the option of converting the project into a film.

Though Varshney and Khatau have not read any of Robin Cook’s books, they are eagerly awaiting his latest thriller.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Asian News International.

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