USA Network’s Psych is on my DVR. The show about a fake psychic and his sidekick is harmless fun and a good way to unwind from office stresses on Friday (it’s back to back with Monk, which may explain why I’m a loyal viewer). This week featured an episode with a Bollywood twist and was heavily promoted throughout the week. I ended up watching it with my teenage son last night.
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that for some reason, Bollywood, once a simple term to describe the Hindi movie industry, has now got conflated with the entire idea of Indian culture. I’m sure we have no one to blame but ourselves, given that the songs and dances are captivating and instantly identifiable. Also, to many second generation Indians like my children, Bollywood is Indian culture (okay, maybe Diwali as well). It’s not surprising that when they end up as consultants on TV shows, that’s what they bring to the table. The theme song for yesterday’s show is an execrable mix of sitar and bhangra, but my son was quite bowled over. “My goodness, that is Indian,” was his response, and he was quite delighted.
The writers also find themselves unable to avoid the cliches of the crotchety granny (Bollywood Hero, anyone) and the spicy Indian food, and of course, there’s the inevitable dance number thrown in. The entire premise of the episode is based on a “curse,” proving that the western view of India as a land of snake-charmers and elephants still flourishes.
But….mercifully the actors are straight up second generation Indian Americans, who speak and act like the Americans they are. Sendhil Ramamurthy does a fine job as the cursed lover and he gets able support from Madhur Jaffrey as the grandma and the Lisa Ray as his troubled sister-in-law-to-be. It’s all a bit silly but not disrespectful, and if Bollywood is what captures the American viewer’s imagination, then I’m glad to get a foot in the door.
Here’s the trailer and repeats of the episode run throughout the week. Check it out.