Popping out the desi fizz

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“I’m a little bit rebellious when it comes to form and genre.

Back when I was growing up it was really uncool to be Indian and brown. Now SBS is launching a radio station for us and times are changing.

Nick Brown is a veteran of the entertainment industry. He has been a regular on the Australian silver screen for a while. He also travelled to India recently and made a lot of friends in the Indian cinema industry. He is aware that things are slowly but surely changing in the Australian media scene which is why he is excited about SBS’s new venture Popdesi.
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Nicholas Brown, better known as Nick Brown, is a regular on Australian television. He has had a few roles on Home and Away, City Homicide and most recently on Mr and Mrs Murder as the plastic surgeon Dr. Mukherjee.
“Mr and Mrs Murder has done really well. Ratings have been good. The story in which I appear is a light-hearted murder mystery. I play doctor Mukherjee. He is a plastic surgeon and is a suspect for one of the murders. One of his female patients has been murdered. I cannot reveal more without giving the story away,” he says while talking from his home in Sydney.
“I was really excited that the director did not want me to do an Indian accent. He is an Aussie-Indian doctor. There is no reference to him being and Indian. I don’t think it’s necessary to single out any nationality unless the storyline is about nationalities.”
That was his last appearance on Television on channel 10. Nowadays, radio is what is keeping him busy. “The show that I’m doing is called SBS Popdesi. I think it just shows that Indian Australians are ready to dominate. A radio station has been created specifically for Indian Australians and their music. Back when I was growing up it was really uncool to be Indian and brown. Now SBS is launching a radio station for us and times are changing. We play Punjabi, British Punjabi, bhangra and Bollywood music. We also play some Pakistani and Sri Lankan music as well.”
“It’s going really well. Popasia is really huge. They are trying to base it on that model. It’s only just started and we are hoping it will catch on.” It’s an online radio station with music playing throughout the day.
It’s got some really serious music with A. R Rahman and his genre as well as some of the new stuff from artistes like Mika Singh. Judging from the comments, there is definitely an interest in the segment but it will take some doing to get the right mix of music when it comes to Indian music. There is a large demographic to cater for. While Punjabi music is always foot-tapping and a definite hit machine, SBS will have to look into modern Tamil and other regional music as well to get a serious following. The more of you that log in, the more it will be taken seriously.
“I’ve been doing some interviews with Hrithik Roshan and some others. I am doing the old Bollywood hook up,” he says laughing. “We’ve been playing little snippets. The whole thing comes out when Krish 3 comes out. We are saving that for then.”
Nick Brown has spent quite some time in Bollywood and he is getting back in touch with them and feels that his Indian connection is one of the reasons SBS hired him. “I guess the reason by SBS hired me is because of my Bollywood stint and also because I’ve done a lot of voice overs. They were looking for an Aussie Indian who had a balance.”
He hopes that slowly the Indian market here will evolve to create some uniquely Indian-Australian sounds as has been the case in the UK. “I’d love for that to happen. There is so much more over in the UK. There are about 10 labels producing Indian and specifically Punjabi music. I find that, more and more, creative Australian Indians are getting their stuff out there.”
“We need more of an industry over here. I would definitely love for the station to go down that way. It has to be popular first. More and more people need to tune in, give feedback and get involved for that to happen.”
“I’ve got three shows on each week. You can get online and listen to it any time. My shows are three tiems a week. Fridays from 5-7pm, Mondays from 5 to 7pm and on Wednesdays from 11 to 1 pm. I play a lot of the popular desi music from around the world. I play a lot of Tamil music. The show is peppered with some entertainment news and I do a spotlight every week on a new talent. Just to give Australian listeners an idea about who these people are. I’ve had a few DJs send me their music and I’m in the midst of getting it out there.”
www.sbs.com.au/popdesi
“It’s really young, hip and trendy. We are gearing towards a younger audience.”
Brown is also busy with another aspect of his talent which is script writing. I have three scripts in the works. “One of them is an Aussie Bollywod musical which is set in Sydney and the other one is set in New York and Kerala and is about Tantra and the third is children’s live action puppet show. They are all very different. I wrote them all. I’ll be associate producing them. One of them is an Aussie film and the other two will be more European American co-production.”
“I get more satisfaction from creating my own work. As an actor, you are telling someone else’s stories. I love acting, it’s my first love, I get more creative satisfaction from writing and creating my own work.”
The Aussie Bollywood musical is called Lighten Up and is about Australia’s obsession with being bronzed and the Indian obsession with being ‘fair and lovely’.
The children’s story seems really quite unique in that it’s about a girl who discovers brownie elves living on her dairy farm. She then goes on an adventure to the Scottish highlands to break a family curse.
So does he have Scottish roots? “Not really. My mum was born in Calcutta and dad was born in Ooty. Whenever I’m in Mumbai, I’m always asked if Nick is short for Nikhil and if Nicholas Brown is some kind of stage name. I tell them no, my real name is Nicholas Brown — I’m the product of British colonialism in India!”
“I’m a little bit rebellious when it comes to form and genre. I’m making an Aussie-Bollywood musical, a movie about Tantra which promises to be controversial and a multicultural puppet film that has not been done before. I like to go down a path that others haven’t gone down before.”

Check out Nick Brown on www.sbs.com.au/popdesi

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