‘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

LETTER: Slow down for wildlife, please

Langley letter writer pleads with drivers to drive with caution through new areas of development

Aldergrove shop owners make downtown more inviting

Business owners rejuvenate storefronts and invite redevelopment of the town’s core

Langley kids camp featured visiting Seawolves rugby players

Kids ages four to 12 could take part in a rugby camp that included visiting professional players.

True grit: Langley U18 wins bronze at soccer championships

‘I’ve never met a group this tough,’ coach said

LETTER: How do you define heritage in Fort Langley

A letter writer speaks out against demolition of several buildings in the ‘birthplace of B.C.’

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read