There’s nothing like binge-watching a series to take your mind off wedmin stress. If you’re hunting around for something new, we love Anarkali, the hit Canadian web-series available on YouTube.
Now at the end of season three, the story opens with Anarkali (played by Kiran Rai) discovering her fiancé of nine years is ditching her two months before their Big Day - yikes!
What follows is an eye-wateringly hilarious voyage of self-discovery and the trials of dating afresh while juggling her Canadian and Indian cultures. Each episode is an easily digestible 10 min or so, which makes Anarkali ideal for enjoying during a quick break between chasing RSVPs and finalising the seating plan.
Season three has been building up to another wedding; is it Anarkali's... or someone elses? All will be revealed during the season finale on 3rd May, but before then we talked to lead actress Kiran Rai to get the lowdown on the must-watch Desi show.
Anarkali's lead actress Kiran Rai
How did you get involved with Anarkali?
Rakhi Mutta (the writer) and I met when she volunteered to drive me to a Sikh feminist conference in Michigan, which is a four-hour drive from us in Brampton, a suburb of Toronto. We were total strangers, but we got on fantastically, especially as the other person in the car was Rupi Kaur.
While we were chatting, Rakhi mentioned her blog, looked over at me and said, “You’re my Anarkali, you’re my character”. I asked her more about it and two months later, we had a web series!
What drew you to Anarkali?
Anarkali is unique, because for one, it’s an all-brown cast, which is rare to see in the diaspora, I don’t think there’s any show that is as brown in the West. To be part of something like that was already such a huge deal and then playing the lead Anarkali was the cherry on top. She’s just so real; everyone has been Anarkali at some point in their lives.
She’s completely relatable.
So relatable. She makes all those classic mistakes and I get frustrated with her but then realise, oh I made those mistakes or I know someone who did. So who are we to judge?
Do you feel pressure to represent brown women in media as well as your audience?
For me, it's important that our stories are told authentically and that’s the reason we create this type of art. Anarkali is a world away from how brown women are portrayed in the media, Hollywood and Bollywood. It’s crucial to tell stories that are real and true to the youth of the diaspora. That’s really my job.
What’s it like shooting a web series?
A lot of work! Pre-production is an undertaking on its own, but when it came to camera time we had two weeks to shoot the whole of series three. Anarkali is in every other scene so for me personally, it’s 16-hour days and the whole crew and cast living out of one house. I immersed myself in the role and made everyone call me Anarkali and I would treat them as if they were their characters, even when we weren’t shooting.
So you all stayed in character throughout?
It was important so I could remain in the Anarkali mindset. I didn’t have contact with anyone outside the house - I wouldn’t even speak to my parents!
You’re Mani K Jassal’s brand ambassador and we’ve noticed she’s heavily featured in show. What made her the go-to choice for all the wedding outfits?
Anarkali wants to be a fashion designer so it plays hand-in-hand with that. She wants to pursue that as a career, and in Mani we have someone who's already doing that. Mani’s collections are super minimalistic but rebellious too. That’s Anarkali’s character in a nutshell.
What would Anarkali’s bridal style be?
Dramatic jewels and she’d want statement hair and makeup. It would be elegant and stylish, so you know Anarkali’s in the room. A showstopper.
And what would her wedding be like?
Grand, there would be a ton of guests there. Maybe something outdoors, very well decorated and people would, just really over the top, as if it were a Kardashian wedding.
What can we expect from season three?
All I can say is that every episode gets more and more dramatic and ridiculous. It’s our best yet.
Anarakli season three finale is on 3rd May on YouTube. Catch the show from the start here