Netflix’ hit show ‘Never Have I Ever’ is back with its fourth and final season this Thursday, June 8, and we can’t wait to see how each character’s storyline comes to a close! We spoke with Poorna Jagannathan and Richa Moorjani, who play Nalini Vishwakumar and Kamala Nandiwadal respectively, about their character’s journeys on the show, and their dynamic with the cast.
It’s the last season of the show. Was your approach coming into this season different from previous ones?
Poorna: The writing is so good, you just have to ride the wave of this beautiful material. I will say, the set felt different because it was very bittersweet. As we were filming different scenes, we were wrapping different rooms, so we wrapped on the living room, we wrapped on the bedroom .. and so it was just getting more and more emotional. There were scenes that were not emotional but I burst into tears, just because we were just so close to the end, and there was such a sense of this beautiful life-changing journey finishing.
Richa: I totally agree, and I think that sometimes when you’re shooting something for several seasons, the storylines start to imitate what’s happening in our real lives. It’s pretty meta how, in this season … change is coming to all of the character’s lives, and they’re all kind of going off in different directions and moving on in different ways, and that’s kind of what was happening for all of us as well.
Speaking of change, Richa, your character in particular, emphasizes that she wants to focus on her career, and she is met with some criticism from relatives. How do you think this storyline will translate to viewers as they see it play out this season?
Richa: I think that Kamala’s story and her journey, and her struggles were putting herself first, and prioritizing her career over other people’s expectations is something that so many of us South Asians, myself included, can relate to. I think that a lot of what Kamala’s going through throughout the whole series is what I’ve been through in my own life, and navigating the same kinds of challenges.
Moorjani additionally shares how empowering the process has been for her, and how it translated into her character. Kamala grew immensely over the four seasons of the show, and many viewers have felt that they could relate to her struggles, victories, and journey.
Poorna, what is in store for your character for this season, in terms of change for the entire family, as well as Nalini’s arc?
You know, the realization. Sometimes, I think in a situation where there is grief involved, you’re doing whatever you can to try and move forward and move on … and it happens so organically. Throughout these seasons, we’ve seen Nalini try to move forward, and suddenly, it’s the realization that she has let go of some of that grief, and is able to invite joy, and she’s able to let go of her daughter, and she’s able to invite a relationship into her life. For Nalini, I think viewers will be obviously sad to see the Vishwakumar’s kind of leave TV, but at the same time, really feel a sense of happiness for their next chapter.
Trailer for Season 4:
So for both of you, what was your favorite scene of all time to film, and if you have any tidbits of why that was your favorite scene?
You know, Poorna and I have done a lot of interviews together, and we always have the same answer. It’s the season one finale episode, when we go to spread Mohan’s ashes at the beach, and when Devi and her mother have a reconciliation. It was such a tremendous moment for the three of us because this was before the show even came out, and we didn’t know how it was going to be received … but we just knew that it was just a special special thing that we had done. Shooting that scene was difficult, technically speaking and emotionally speaking, but it just felt like such a cathartic moment for all of us.
Both Jagannathan and Moorjani explain that this moment crystallized the family dynamic amongst the three actors and characters alike, which was evident to viewers who watched the scene. For the cast and crew, the show became deeply personal, and this scene in particular was written from Mindy Kaling’s point-of-view, as she had also spread her mother’s ashes in Malibu at the beach.
You touched upon the closeness you have with the cast members. At the end of the series, how was that experience saying goodbye to the entire cast, as you all became almost family at the end.
Richa: I think that it hadn’t really hit many of us. I’ll speak for myself personally, because we shot season three and season four back to back. And while we were shooting season four, we were also preparing for the premiere of season three, and we knew we had another year to go before season four would even come out. So, it didn’t really feel like goodbye when we were shooting the last few episodes, however, it did feel incredibly emotional. All of us have become so close, and it’s really rare that you meet people on set where you do begin to feel like family.
Poorna: Richa has become one of my best friends and closest friends, and she’s the first person I call when I get good news, and the first person I call when I get bad news. We’ve learned to navigate these four seasons together, and it’s been a year since we’ve been on set, and we still speak to each other every day.
Jagannathan coins the term the Mindy-verse, that includes actors, writers, producers, etc. who are a part of Kaling’s projects that she has visualized and created. She explains that there is power in being so connected within a trusting group of people who take risks that pay off.
Season 4 of ‘Never Have I Ever’ releases on Netflix on June 8th!