March 12, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

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].”

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