Tonight’s episode of Quantico is Bangladeshi-American writer Sharbari Ahmed’s first solo credit for the ABC network TV series. Episode 13 is called “Clear,” and you can watch a sneak peek of it here:
What is it like in the writers room?
I was very intimidated at first.
Most of the people in that room have been doing this for anywhere from six to over 10 years, and they’re uber smart and experienced. There are only three women, including an Arab-American writer, and everybody else is white and majority is male. That’s not a problem necessarily, but that should give you an indication of how writers rooms usually are.
Ahmed mentions in the interview that she might be drawing on her South Asian background for the second season of the series. She said “I’m also Muslim, so I can harness that to write the Raina and Nimah Amin characters.” Ahmed discussed South Asian representation among screenwriters in an interview with Brown Girl Magazine:
Can you describe the South Asian representation among screenwriters today?
Well, there aren’t very many South Asians in writer’s rooms in the U.S. Of course there are shows like ‘The Mindy Project,” with Mindy Kaling at the helm, and the much lauded ‘Master of None’ with Aziz Ansari, which I am so excited to see once I get some time.
I hear Nisha Ganatra is developing a new sitcom with an Indian protagonist ala ‘Fresh off the Boat,’ so things are definitely happening. But it’s still slow going. We are not as mainstream as desis are in the U.K. As for screenwriting, I think we are still very much a rarity.
On the indie circuit, there are more South Asian screenwriters, but you don’t see that many of us writing that summer blockbuster.
Outside of Quantico, Ahmed has written for the stage and the page. Her play “Raisins Not Virgins” was adapted into a short film, and her first book is a collection of short stories called The Ocean of Mrs. Nagai. When she started writing for the TV series, she was in the midst of writing a novel. On Facebook, Ahmed shared a few details about the upcoming novel.
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