Growing up, if you’ve ever wanted a character to reflect your Asian-American roots, Disney Jr. is finally making that dream come true! “Mira: Royal Detective” is going to be a mystery-adventure show set in the fictional city of Jalpur, India. It will feature an all-Indian cast, and delve into Indian customs and traditions. Each episode is set to be roughly 22 minutes, with a focus on dance, mystery, and drama. The character of Mira, played by 15-year old Leena Ladnier, will be depicted as a commoner who becomes a royal detective. This show is slated to premiere sometime in 2020.
As an Asian-American, I’m excited that Disney Jr. is showcasing strong Asian characters. It’s good to have diversity, and to celebrate it. I hope that one day, there’ll be a show like this on the CW, Netflix, or Freeform aimed at ethnically-diverse teenagers and adults as well.
The reason why I love binging shows is because I am often able to relate to some of the characters and the troubles they go through. But rarely did I ever see my culture reflected in the characters I watched, a feeling that was isolating at best. It was almost as if my culture existed on the fringes of what was worthy of being seen on T.V.
I hope that Asian-American kids who grow up watching “Mira: Royal Detective” will be able to relate to Mira and her friends, on a cultural level. I think it’s important for kids to be able to envision themselves in a wide variety of contexts. This show has the potential to break average stereotypes, and show young brown girls how capable they really are. For the kids who aren’t Indian, this show will help expose them to a culture they may be unfamiliar with, thus setting the foundation for them to be more understanding and appreciative of a different culture.
This show’s all-Indian cast consists of actors such as Karan Brar (Jessie and Bunk’d), and Hannah Simone (New Girl), Freida Pinto, Kal Penn, Jameela Jamil, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Aparna Nancherla, plus many more. Without a doubt, the selection of a star-studded Indian cast proves that there is scope for representation in the entertainment industry, if those with privilege are willing to pass the mic.
In “Mira: Royal Detective”, Mira assists the commoners and the royals alike after saving a prince. “We are eager to introduce kids and their families to the rich, diverse cultures and customs of India through Mira, a young girl who looks at things with her own unique lens to gain different perspectives and help others in her community. We hope that she will encourage our audience to engage actively with the inspiring world around them and appreciate the little details that make life extraordinary.” said Joe D’ Ambrosia, VP of Original Programming at Disney Junior.
In other words, I think kids of all ages and cultural backgrounds will adore this show. This is the kind of show I wish I had growing up. It’s better late, than never.