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Indian American Talent Flourishes

New America Media | 10/9/2012, 9:54 a.m.

Writer-actress-producer Mindy Kaling, best known till now as Kelly on the Emmy-winning FOX comedy "The Office" and the author of a New York Times best-selling memoir, will navigate the singles scene as the star of "The Mindy Project," which premiered Sept. 25 on FOX.

Kaling joins other Indian American actors and writers making a mark on American TV this season -- with stars such as Aziz Ansari and Kunal Nayyar continuing their successful runs on hit shows and rising child actor Karan Brar in Disney's tween series "Jessie." Get ready to see Kal Penn and "Outsourced's" Parvesh Cheena return to the small screen, as well as more appearances on the hit FOX show "Glee" by Pakistani American actor Iqbal Theba.

In "The Mindy Project," Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, a young OB/GYN in a big city hospital whose love life has nothing in common with the romantic comedies she loves to watch.

"It used to be that you had to make female TV characters perfect so no one would be offended by your 'portrayal' of women. Even when I started out on 'The Office' eight years ago, we could write our male characters funny and flawed, but not the women. And now, thankfully, it's completely different," Kaling told David Letterman on his talk show Sept. 17.

Kaling, 33, whose real name is Vera Chockalingam, is also the author of the bestselling comic memoir "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" (Crown Archetype).

Her character is "snarky but sweet, clean but just a little dirty, quick without being rushed, meta without being niche, and centered on someone who seems familiar and yet comes across as a fresh find," reads a review of the show in the Washington Post. (India-West's repeated requests for an interview and review copy of the show went unanswered by FOX's p.r. team).

Standup comic-turned-actor Aziz Ansari returns for a third season on NBC's "Parks and Recreation" Sept. 20 as Tom Haverford, a self-serving young man who will undergo a change of heart in the 2012 season.

"There's an arc that starts around [Nov. 1] for Tom, where he's trying to start a new business but he's grown up a bit and has learned from his mistakes in the past -- so it's about him trying to turn over a new leaf and take what he thinks is actually a good idea for once and turn it into a legitimate business," show co-creator Mike Schur told The Hollywood Reporter recently.