Following such hits as Monsoon Wedding, TV execs are eager to board the South Asian bandwagon. Wedding writer Sabrina Dhawan is scripting a darkly comic look at Indian-American families for HBO, and last season ABC was developing a story about Indian-American motel owners. But NBC is fast-tracking its entry: Nevermind Nirvana is about an Indian-American doctor whose parents move in with him and his wife, loosely based on writer-producer Ajay Sahgal's life with wife Kelli Williams (''The Practice'').
Auditions for the pilot called for Indian actors and nonactors, and attracted all sorts -- programmers, doctors, even suburban housewives. ''They were these nice Indian moms who had driven in from Artesia [Calif.],'' says Sahgal. ''I can't imagine my mother [trying out].''