There is sadness but also hope that the friendships that she formed on "Never Have I Ever" will continue to thrive beyond the show, says series lead Maitreyi Ramakrishnan ahead of the premiere of the final season of the popular young-adult drama.
The fourth and the final season of the Netflix series, created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, will premiere on June 8. Ramakrishnan and her co-stars Darren Barnet and Jaren Levison sat down for an interview with PTI where they spoke about the show that changed their life and life ahead.
"Definitely, there is sadness... More of this sadness comes because such a great thing is ending. We all know all good things come to an end, right? We are just sad that we won't be able to create this one specific project together. That does not mean we won't be able to create anymore," Ramakrishnan said.
"We are definitely going to portray amazing characters going forward. It is just that this one specific project 'Never Have I Ever' will be done, which is sad to think about but the nice part about it is that it is not fully a goodbye because our friendship has grown outside of the show. I'm not like never seeing these guys again," she added.
Ramakrishnan, a Sri Lankan-Canadian, was just 17 when she landed the role of Devi, an overachieving Indian-American teenager growing up in Southern California, US, who is mourning the death of her father while navigating life as a high school student in the hit Netflix show.
Whether it's about dealing with life's anxieties or sweet cravings, the 21-year-old actor said she will reach out to Barnet and Levison whenever she is Los Angeles.
"I'm still going to bother Darren like 'Hey, what are you doing?' and just respond to all the cool things he does on Instagram and I'm like 'Dude, I'm jealous of your entire life. I just wanna be you'.
"Anytime I have any bother in life, I am just anxious. I will be like 'Hey Jaren! Or anything dumb or I see anything baking related and I am like 'Can you bake this for me?' Anytime I come to LA, I tell these guys, 'Can we hang out? I'm free'. So, that part is good," she added.
Levison, who started his acting career at the age of five but gained global popularity with the series as Ben Gross, Devi's school nemesis-turned-friend and later a love interest, said getting the opportunity to star in a series that has reached to people of over 190 countries is what dreams are made of.
"It changed all of our lives... I was a kid who was five years old and dreaming of something like this and to have that come true and the magnitude and the way it did....
"I don't think I could have fathomed that I would be a part of this show, a show created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, a show seen by people of over 190 countries... It is mind blowing and a dream come true for a little kid from Dallas who wanted to be an actor and loved attention," the 22-year-old said.
The actor, who stars as Paxton Hall Yoshida, the guy Devi has a crush on and later develops a friendship with, said they could not have predicted the popularity of the show when they began in 2019.
"It is something we all dreamed of and wanted. We are still kind of pinching ourselves at the moment that we have a whole new season to go, a whole new story that hopefully touches and inspires people, makes them laugh, makes them cry," he said.
Barnet, 32, said rather than getting caught in what's to come next, he wants to focus on the season ahead.
Ramakrishnan said the show changed them in "more ways" than they could have imagined.
"It was a big thing for all of us and I don't think we could have anticipated even how vast it would be and how much of an impact it would make. My whole life changed, right upside down. I never thought this is how my life would go when I said yes to my best friend and (I was) hanging out with her to make a little video at my community centre," said the actor, recalling the moment she sent in her audition tape.
Fisher serves as showrunner on "Never Have I Ever", which is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, and executive produced by 3 Arts Entertainment's Howard Klein and David Miner.