‘Good Sam’: Finally, a Hollywood film with an Indian American female lead

Tiya Sircar in "Good Sam."
Tiya Sircar in “Good Sam.” Image via Netflix screen capture

Released last week, the Netflix original film stars Indian American Tiya Sircar, who plays the lead role of a journalist.

So what happens when you have the good fortune of coming across a new Netflix original Hollywood movie with an Indian American actress?

You go through the movie thinking that the character may be one of the important ones in the movie. But you are happily surprised to find that the actor shoulders the film and is the pivot to the story.

Elated, now you await encouraging references to topics such as diversity, representation, and immigration, even.

But wait. What if none of this happens?

What happens is something that many of us are not used to watch in an all-American movie.  In the just released Netflix movie Good Sam, the fact that the protagonist is played by South Asian actress Tiya Sircar is just incidental. There are no references to her roots, or explanations on why she is a woman of color.

Instead Tiya Sircar, plays broadcast journalist Kate Bradley in Good Sam, effortlessly, with no reason to spell out her roots. She blends into America seamlessly, just like so many of us South Asian Americans, and refreshingly she has no explanations to offer as to why she may not be a light-eyed blonde.

And this, I would say is the biggest strength of the film. Directed by award-winning film maker Kate Melville, Good Sam is a movie not just with a significant female crew but it is also a brave movie.

Brave, because the director believed in casting a brown woman and offering no unnecessary peek into her lineage, or worse introducing her roots for a caricature relief in the movie.

Good Sam is based on a 2014 book by the same name written by Dete Meserve. It tells the story about a mysterious Good Samaritan, who is anonymously leaving $100,000 on people’s doors in New York City. Journalist Kate Bradley, played by Sircar, is assigned to cover the story and finds herself getting engrossed into this impossible tale of selfless goodness.

In the course of investigations, Bradley is confronted by two of her romantic interests. In the end, the lead star finds love and the audience is left with a feel-good belief that selflessness has a place on earth.

Tiya Sircar, as Kate Bradley, does perfect justice to her role. There is no unnecessary emotional or professional racial stereotyping and there isn’t even the need of a male lead to “balance” the plot.

Sircar has starred in The Internship and The Star War Rebels. She was on NBC’s The Good Place, ABC’s Alex Inc.Aziz Ansari’s Master of None and Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project.

Born in Tarrant County in Texas, she graduated from University of Texas in Austin.

With her new role, Sircar has raised the bar even more for brown actors in Hollywood.

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