Poorna Jagannathan celebrates 4 generations of love stories on 'Never Have I Ever'

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Warning: This post contains spoilers from the series finale of “Never Have I Ever.”

In the fourth and final season of “Never Have I Ever,” Devi’s mom Nalini, played by Poorna Jagannathan, finally gets a love story of her own.

The popular Netflix drama began in 2020 by introducing audiences to Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a brassy teenager who was grieving the unexpected loss of her father. Throughout the seasons, the show follows Devi’s journey and her love triangle with Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet) and Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison) while her mom tried to be her support system.

But when Nalini attempted to move on after the death of her husband and started seeing Dr. Chris Jackson (Common) in Season Two, Devi objected. Nalini and Chris’s budding romance immediately cooled off and she suppressed her needs.

Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini Vishwakumar (Netflix)
Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini Vishwakumar (Netflix)

Nalini gives love a second chance in Season Four, which was released on June 8, after falling for Andres, played by Ivan Hernandez. Their feelings develop each episode and they share a kiss by the end, with full support from Devi.

Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini Vishwakumar, Ivan Hernandez as Andres Ramos (Netflix)
Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini Vishwakumar, Ivan Hernandez as Andres Ramos (Netflix)

Jagannathan celebrates Nalini’s love story in an interview with TODAY.com, praising the show for how it “explores female sexuality across the board.”

She says her character’s Season Four storyline “explores Nalini’s desires not only as a woman but as a mother.”

The 50-year-old actor points out that Kamala, played by Richa Moorjani, and Ranjita Chakravarty’s matriarchal character, Nirmala, also end the show in happy relationships, meaning every generation in the Vishwakumar household finds love.

“It’s so much more than the stereotype that’s always handed to us,” Jagannathan says. “And so that felt really amazing.”

She reveals that the storyline slightly mirrored her mother’s experience in real life.

“My mother got remarried really late in life and she was really reluctant. She’s South Asian, but her mother said, ‘You should really give yourself a second chance,’” she explains.

Jagannathan says that support was reflected in Devi giving Nalini her blessing to start dating again.

“In some weird way, you need approval from your mother and you need approval from your child. As soon as that’s given, something magical happens,” Jagannathan says.

Richa Moorjani as Kamala, Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini Vishwakumar, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi, Ranjita Chakravarty as Nirmala, Lee Rodriguez as Fabiola Torres  (Netflix)
Richa Moorjani as Kamala, Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini Vishwakumar, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi, Ranjita Chakravarty as Nirmala, Lee Rodriguez as Fabiola Torres (Netflix)

Devi’s approval is one of a few ways the final episodes highlight her growth compared to the earlier seasons. The series finale also shows a change in her relationship with cousin Kamala, which allows “Never Have I Ever” to address another cultural stereotype.

During the final episode, all the characters come together for Nirmala’s wedding to Len (Jeff Garlin). Their jubilant nuptials include Devi and Kamala’s Bollywood dance sequence.

Moorjani tells TODAY.com that filming the scene was “surreal” and a callback to Devi’s comment about Indian dancing in Season One.

Moorjani recalls, “In the first season, Devi says, when she sees a group of Indian girls dancing, she makes fun of it."

The 34-year-old actor, who is also a dancer in real life, says this type of scene was something she had dreamed of seeing on American TV. "For so long Bollywood dance has been shown as this kind of like circus act, spectacle," she says.

But “Never Have I Ever” used the scene as a way to demonstrate “the evolution between Devi and Kamala."

Over the course of the series, and particularly in the last episode, Devi comes to embrace her culture.

“You see her having so much joy and dancing with her cousin who she first hated when she came here. It just felt like such a celebration,” Moorjani says.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com