Show of the Week: Late Bloomer

YouTube star Jasmeet Raina (aka Jus Reign) brings “the excitement and absurdity of being a turban-wearing influencer for a decade” to life in this dramatic comedy series, which he says is, in part, “a love letter to my parents’ generation – the immigrants.”

Raina, who is the creator, writer and star of Late Bloomer, plays Jasmeet Dutta, a Canadian of Indian background, who feels as though he is falling behind in the game of life as his peers seem to have thriving careers and perfect marriages. Adding to the pressure is being the eldest son within an immigrant household, working as a driver for the family run delivery business, so Dutta decides to start a video blog to share his frustrations.

“I felt like I was excelling in many aspects of my professional and creative life; I had become a popular internet figure to a point where some of my personal development and relationships took a backseat,” Raina tells TBI.

The show is inspired by Raina’s own experiences, including “coming to terms with feeling ‘behind’ in life that many of us who come from South Asian immigrant families experience, and not excelling as fast as our ‘Canadian’ peers were,” he explains.

In the show, the fictional Dutta finds that he has struck a chord with a steadily growing internet audience who can relate to his journey as he seeks to balance his cultural Eastern roots while adopting Western ideals.

“The rise to fame can be so overwhelmingly massive and accelerated, and many influencers or creators aren’t taught how to navigate these spaces. The fast paced-ness of it didn’t really allow for my personal development and introspective journey, which is why I chose to step away from the internet for a few years to work on those parts of myself,” shares Raina.

The creator explains that the series will explore “the nature of this beast”, with influencers in constant demand for attention and output of content to “stay relevant” and in Dutta’s case, with adverse effects on other parts of his life.

The series also tackles themes like dating as a person of colour, digital-age friendships, self-growth with a million modern distractions, spirituality, and dealing with a dysfunctional (yet loving) Punjabi family – all while navigating the world of online celebrity.

“Jasmeet, along with the other characters, goes through a wild journey of self-realisation. Whether it be through his career, through his interpersonal relationships, or through his understanding of how to describe himself while actively fighting societal and cultural standards to become who he really is,” says Raina.

“Throughout the course of the show, much like real life, some of the characters drift apart and come together, and hopefully by the end of the series, the characters have a deeper understanding for each other, and the space to be themselves, while providing love for one another.”

Starring alongside Raina in the 8 x 30-minute series are Baljinder Singh Atwal, Sandeep Bali, Ashley Ganger and Sugenja Sri. Created and executive produced by Jasmeet Raina, Shebli Zarghami is executive producer and showrunner. Executive producers are Baljinder Dhawan, and Laszlo Barna, Nicole Butler, Karen Tsang and Vanessa Steinmetz for Pier 21 Films. Brett Burlock and Sonia Hosko are executive producers for Cineflix Studios. Lakna Edirisinghe is co-executive producer.

Tom Misselbrook, SVP of scripted sales & development at Late Bloomer distributor Cineflix Rights, sees great potential for the series with international audiences.

“Late Bloomer is a distinct, universal comedy with a lot of heart, and this was one of the first things that struck at Cineflix Rights: its universality,” he tells TBI.

“The series follows the everyday life of Jasmeet Dutta, your average, everyday turban wearing ‘live at home’ millennial, but ultimately, it’s about human experience, and I think it’s that which will lend itself to international audiences.”

Misselbrook says that exploring interpersonal issues such as love, career, personal growth, spirituality, family dynamics and mental health, through the lens of the South Asian diaspora gives Late Bloomer “a very original and fresh voice.”

“It’s a series that’s incredibly grounded in its delivery, it’s raw and honest, but also laugh out loud funny,” he says, noting that Raina also brings a large YouTube following to the show.

“We have high hopes at Cineflix Rights that the series will tap into that demographic and beyond and are incredibly excited to partner on it and bring it to audiences around the world.”

Producers: Pier 21 Films in association with Bell Media and Cineflix Studios
Distributor: Cineflix Rights
Broadcaster: Crave (Canada)
Logline: A dramatic comedy in which an Indo-Canadian millennial tries to cope with his perceived shortcomings by becoming a YouTube star – leading to further troubles

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