‘The 410’ dramatizes drug-smuggling case involving Indo-Canadian truck drivers

The series stars woman whose truck-driver father is arrested after being caught with cocaine

As an Indo-Canadian Punjabi growing up in the northwest Toronto district of Rexdale, Supinder Wraich was surrounded by truckers.

Her parents have a trucking school and her uncles are drivers in the industry that’s filled with many other Indo-Canadians who live in Rexdale and nearby Brampton, Ont., which has a large South Asian population, says the actor-writer-director.

So in 2011, when news articles emerged about Indo-Canadian truck drivers being arrested at the border for drug smuggling, Wraich felt connected to the stories and wanted to make a documentary about them.

Her fictionalized account inspired by the events turned into the new web drama series “The 410,” written in 2017 after she met with a lawyer who represents some of the accused drivers and he told her to focus on personal elements of her vision.

READ MORE: China sentences B.C. man to death in drug smuggling case

“It was heart-warming to see that this community, because we don’t get our stories told, was so enthusiastic about it,” said Wraich, who shot the series over 12 days at locations including her parents’ house, the Sikh Spiritual Centre Toronto and Brampton public transit.

“Everybody was like, ‘You’re going to tell a story about us about our community? By all means, take all the resources we have.’”

Debuting Thursday on CBC Gem, the series also stars Wraich as Suri, an aspiring Indo-Canadian Instagram influencer in Toronto whose truck-driver father is arrested after being caught with a large amount of cocaine. In an effort to make his bail money, she tries to sell a stash of drugs she finds in the family car.

Wraich said Suri was partly inspired by a character she saw on the comedy-drama series “High Maintenance” — a young Muslim woman who tries to buy cannabis.

“That was probably the first time I’d seen a South-Asian woman represented without hero qualities or desirable qualities or, ‘Oh, she’s a doctor’ or a lawyer or an accountant and she fits into this stereotype,” said Wraich, who was born in Chandigarh, India and recently moved to Los Angeles.

“Often I don’t get roles where the characters have problems and issues and they’re not perfect, and that’s what I was really desiring. That’s why I wrote it, because I’ve never played this part and I rarely get to audition for these parts.

“The only other comparable character I can think of is Kalinda from ‘The Good Wife’ in terms of a badass, South-Asian female character — but the lead, in this case.”

Wraich created an Instagram account for her character under the handle @Indian_Blonde.

At the beginning of the story, Suri has bleached blond hair, contacts to make her brown eyes blue, and a bedroom wall full of images of Caucasian models.

“Growing up, these images that I looked up to and aspired to were skinny, blond women in magazines, and this is where Suri starts when we meet her. Then she transitions into finding her power when she returns home,” said Wraich, whose other credits include “The Good Doctor” and “Crawford.”

At one point Suri calls herself “pretty for an Indian girl” — a line that came from Wraich’s own life.

“I went to a predominantly Caucasian high school, so I was always the girl who was ‘Pretty for an Indian girl,’” she said.

“At the beginning I took it as a compliment like, ‘Oh, that means I’m pretty,’ and later on in my mid-20s I was like, ‘No, I’m just pretty. I’m not pretty in spite of my race; probably because of it.’”

Wraich also co-produced the series, which is named after the highway connecting Brampton to the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto-based filmmaker Renuka Jeyapalan directed the series, which is the first feature-length project for Mad Ruk Entertainment, a production company known for its music videos with artists including the Weeknd.

“I loved that it was a South-Asian woman at the centre and it wasn’t a comedy, it wasn’t something broad,” said Jeyapalan.

“It was more grounded and about family in a more authentic way, and not your typical just east-meets-west kind of conflict but really the types of issues that are more complicated.”

There are currently three, 25-minute episodes available, and while the finale wraps up some elements of the story it leaves the door open to extending the series, which Wraich hopes to do.

“It’s taken a lot of things that I’ve felt insecure about or hated about my community and given me a platform to have a dialogue with them about it, in terms of writing inside-out,” Wraich said.

“I went back and forth in terms of how personal I made this, but if I can’t tell my story, how can I tell anybody else’s?”

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Donation supports music therapy in Trail care home

Funding given for music therapy program at Columbia View Lodge

Trail man charged with murder, in court

Joel Anderson was charged with second degree murder in January 2019

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in lobby of Trail hospital

Over the years, Marisa Jimenez has raised $61,710 through her Poplar Ridge Christmas raffle

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email it (large or actual) to editor@trailtimes.ca

Trail Smoke Eaters host Langley Rivermen and Chilliwack Chiefs this weekend

Trail Smoke Eaters look to get back on winning track against Mainland Division teams

‘I was bawling’: Injured Bronco’s mother stunned by his progress after surgery

Ryan Straschnitzki isn’t expecting a cure but hopes to restore some muscle movement

Most B.C. residents, including those hit by 2018 storms, not prepared for outages: report

Create an emergency kit, BC Hydro says, and report all outages or downed lines

Study finds microplastics in all remote Arctic beluga whales tested

Lead author Rhiannon Moore says she wasn’t expecting to see so many microplastics so far north

Services needed in B.C. for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease patients: doctor, advocates

More patients are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at an earlier age

65-million-year-old triceratops fossil arrives in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a Triceratops prosus

B.C. widow sues health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

B.C. woman banned from owning animals after horrific dog abuse case

Melissa Tooshley gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog case

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read