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On the Box: ‘Desi Rascals’, are they?

On the Box: ‘Desi Rascals’, are they?

January 29 2015

New ‘reality’ TV series aims to show Asian life in Britain in all its guises, without shying away from the good, the beautiful or the ugly…

by CHAYYA SYAL @c_syal

THEY are full of character and are loud and proud.

Award winning film director Gurinder Chadha (“Bend it Like Beckham”) and creator of “The Only Way Is Essex” (TOWIE) Tony Wood, have brought us the UK’s first British Asian reality drama, “Desi Rascals”.

The show follows the lives of British Asians living in the suburbs of north-west London. Uniquely rooted in social media (Twitter), “Desi Rascals” has an interactive side which allows viewers to directly interact with the cast by live tweeting them before, during and after the show about the storylines.

The characters span the ages and feature everything from the single and looking, to well-established families and some pensioners.

Desi Rascals” covers a wide range of issues that many British Asians are familiar with: marriage and relationships, dating, the generation gap, divorce, sexuality, body image, mixed race Asian identity and what to do when your friend tries to steal your love interest (cough: Owais).

But it’s not all hard hitting stuff. For a start, there’s more than enough eye candy to go around for all. Be prepared for tons of banter, Asian Adonises with chiselled jaw lines and washboard abs matched with an equally vivacious, sassy and fierce female cast.

While Week 1 was eagerly anticipated, it was hit-and-miss with regards to the fluidity of storylines, maintaining levels of engagement and how some of the older characters interacted with the younger ones. At times, character relationships felt forced with some of the storylines becoming dull and boring. As the show continues to grow and develop, let’s hope that these issues are ironed out.

However, in many ways, “Desi Rascals” succeeded in addressing issues that are often shunned by some within Asian communities such as divorce, sexuality and single parenthood. It was poignant and deeply moving to see a very raw side to some characters – Sunjay, Amita and Naman – and hear about their life experiences in an honest and sincere light.

The highlight of week 1 was in Episode 2. Match-maker Manoj executed his plans to set his daughter Jo up on a date with hottie Shmoyel. At one point he even pulled out his phone to show Shmoyel a photo of Jo which immediately became a point of banter with the boys!

Poor Manoj: the plan miserably backfired with mortified Jo and sister Natalie plotting to get even. But it’s not all doom and gloom; we did see the start of a beautiful bromance between Manoj and Shmoyel.

After what has been a bold start, we can’t wait to see what week 2 has in store for the Rascals!

*Watch “Desi Rascals” on Sky Living on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8pm
Follow the cast on Twitter:
@DesiRascals; @Be_On_Desi to be on the show; @GurinderC; @JoShahdashian; @NattiShah; @Shmoyel; @ArshinaTrivedi; @MosesBaig@yasmin__karimi; @AnjPMG; @OwaisKhan; @JayVara46; @prakash_vara; @sunjay_vara; @manojksshah; @Amitabeauty; @celiahShah; @Naman_Nomie

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture