Meet Ria Patel and Jay Parikh, the lead actress and director of the first-ever Gujarati web series: Varta Re Varta. The first season, which launched in 2016, depicted a young man’s struggle with insomnia and eventual search for therapy. Two years later, Parikh and his team released Season 2, “A Journey to Rainbow,” chronicling a young lesbian woman’s personal journey to embrace her sexuality while living in Gujarat. The protagonist, Ria Desai, (played by actress Ria Patel) deals with various tropes of South Asian culture – including marital pressure from her overbearing mother – as well as several unique personal hurdles. With its daring theme and refreshingly original take on LGBTQIA+ representation, Varta Re Varta quickly amassed a dedicated following.
Click here to read on to learn more about how Jay Parikh and Ria Patel worked together to bring an Indian LGBTQIA+ story to life in an original way. In the process, they learned a great deal about social challenges, self-acceptance, and pushing for change in established cultural norms.