Suraj Sharma On Breaking Down Stereotypes In Wedding Season, How I Met Your Father - Exclusive

For generations, actors of color have battled stereotyping and typecasting in Hollywood and beyond, actively fighting against the overarching assumptions placed on their cultures, skin tones, education, and more. What's more, many actors who represent minority groups on the small and big screens these days are speaking out about the racially motivated experiences they've faced as performers while the glass ceiling placed above them continues to crack. And while it can be argued that significant progress has been made in the pursuit of on-screen representation, there is a long way to go, and films like Netflix's "Wedding Season" are contributing to the fight.

"Wedding Season" tells the story of Asha and Ravi — played by Pallavi Sharda and Suraj Sharma, respectively — two adults who could not be in more opposite places in their lives. But with pressures from family members and the dreaded wedding season approaching, the two join forces to navigate singlehood as smoothly as possible. And while the story that unfolds on-screen is incredibly relatable, "Wedding Season" brings South Asian and Indian cultures to the forefront in a beautiful, unapologetic way, presenting viewers with an almost-all South Asian cast to boot.

Ahead of the film's premiere, we sat down for an exclusive interview with Pallavi Sharda and Suraj Sharma, who both reflected on typecasting and the active breakdown of stereotypes within the South Asian acting community.

Suraj Sharma stands on the shoulders of South Asian actors who came before him

To be the first of anything is almost an impossible task, especially when societal pressures are taken into consideration. Think of Barack Obama or Kamala Harris — two politicians who were, in their own capacities, the firsts. The value of representation cannot be understated, and for Suraj Sharma, "Wedding Season" and his work in "How I Met Your Father" allowed him to break down stereotypes often held by others when considering South Asian and Indian cultures and people.

"Any kind of minority and women, who all relate to this, if you're the only person in the room of your whatever it is, and you're used to that, you feel like you're fighting and fighting constantly," Sharma told us. In terms of "How I Met Your Father" specifically, the star continued, "You're not alone, nobody is alone. We have climbed upon each other and survived, and that's how we keep on going, and that's beautiful. In regards to ['How I Met your Father'] ... specificity is the only way we can understand one another. If we do broad strokes, it's just going to be for show."

Wedding Season provided an opportunity to work with a South Asian ensemble cast

Speaking of being the token actor cast in the one South Asian role in a given project, both Pallavi Sharda and Suraj Sharma reflected on the unique opportunity that "Wedding Season" presented them. They suddenly found themselves surrounded by a collective group of actors who came from similar backgrounds and cultures as they did — a rarity, even after much progress has been made.

But despite the overwhelming and "humbling" environment, Sharda explained to us that there is still much work to be done when it comes to stereotypes, reflecting on the role of her "Wedding Season" character's mother, specifically.

"I think of Veena [Sood], who plays my mom. She's Canadian-born, she has a Canadian accent when she actually speaks and was representing — in this film — a version of [South Asian women]. There's still no concept of the fact that someone from her generation could be Canadian-born and could be an unaccented Indian woman," Sharda said. "It's where we haven't gotten to the broad range of nuance, and there are so many stories within what it means to be a South Asian person of dual heritage. I feel like we came so much closer here on this journey."

"Wedding Season" is available on Netflix now.