by Erin Chew, AsAmNews Arts & Culture Contributor
Bravo’s ‘Family Karma’ is back for a third season. Debuting in 2020, the show is a docuseries focused on a group of Indian American friends living in Florida figuring out life, love, career, generational trauma and identity issues.
What makes this series interesting is that the majority of the cast have known each other since they were kids, living in a community where they were essentially forced to be friends. There is also a focus on the older generation, the parents of the main cast, which adds another layer of complex dynamics and demonstrates the resilience of the Asian migrant generation and experience.
Season 3 promises more drama, emotional ultimatums and decisions, big Bollywood style wedding(s) and secrets among friends. The stars returning this season include Amrit Kapai, Anisha Ramakrishna, Bali Chainani, Brian Benni, Monica Vaswani, Rish Karam, and Vishal Parvani. Bali Chainani, a big personality on the show who describes herself as an ‘unapologetic’ Indian American woman and mother who will tell it as it is, recently spoke to AsAmNews about who she is this season what she wants audiences to expect from her.
“I am 48 years old and have been through a lot in my time. This season you will see more of how strong willed I am and how I will tell people off if I know they are wrong or if they diss my culture,” she said.
“I think you will see more heart and emotion from me, and unreconciled layers of happiness, resentment and regrets at the big Bollywood style weddings which everyone will see. I have had many challenges this past year and I share them this season, so I hope it will speak volumes for audiences.”
The core of the show’s foundation is the reconciling of generational trauma and establishing identity. All the cast go through this journey in different ways on the show. For Chainani, she feels her own identity and connection to being Indian has always been intact as an Indian American. It was when she lived in India that she felt judged as being different and seen as just the ‘American girl’.
“I have to be honest, I have had a great childhood and my experience growing up Indian American has been problem free for the most part. I never doubted my culture and I have always embraced it,” she said.
“Where I have questioned myself was when I lived in India with my ex-husband, because I was judged for who and how I am and ridiculed and criticized for being Indian American. I was always dismissed as just the ‘American girl’ who knows nothing about being Indian, and that hurt me a lot.”
A series on an American mainstream television network centered on the lives of Asian Americans having its third season is a major achievement. It shows that it is time to bring these stories into the mainstream because being Asian and in this case being Indian is being “American.” However, the show’s great success also contradicts how Asian Americans have been treated in the last few years with anti-Asian racism and hate crimes rising throughout the country. Bali spoke about these topics and mentioned that its time being Asian is just about being American.
“I felt so much anger and sadness when I kept reading and hearing about the racism our Asian American community were experiencing, and I hope our show can contribute to changing the narrative – even if its just a little. I hope the show will speak to everyone, even those who share ignorant thoughts that we have the same issues as Americans and we have the same likes and dislikes,” Bali said.
“Our unique stories and our cultural background define what being American is. Just because we speak a different language and eat different foods, doesn’t mean we should be othered and treated differently.”
‘Family Karma’ season 3 is now on Bravo and is also available for streaming on all major streaming platforms.
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