NYFA Screenwriting Alum’s “Breakfast in Bangalore” Brings American Sitcom to India

“Write what you know” is perhaps the most popular advice for aspiring writers, and NYFA screenwriting alumnus Michael Fontana has taken this lesson to heart in his latest sitcom project in his adopted country of India.

“Breakfast in Bangalore,” now in post-production in the Indian city of Bangaluru, will occupy a unique space in Indian television as a distinctly American-style sitcom in a land where Bollywood reigns supreme. Yet, the unorthodox format is pitch perfect for telling the series’ story of cultures crossing and clashing — something Fontana knows (and writes) very well.

As Fontana explained to the The Economic Times, “The premise is that a mixed couple moves to Bengaluru to raise its three kids closer to Indian traditions, only to realize that people caught in the cusp of tradition and cosmopolitanism here can sometimes be more confused about their identity and culture than NRIs [non-resident Indians].”

How did Fontana come up with the idea for his show? He’s lived it.

Fontana relocated to Bangaluru with his Indian wife in 2009, and “Breakfast in Bangalore” serves as the vehicle to explore the many interesting questions and themes of identity, confusion, and tradition that he has observed in his own experience as an expat American living and joining a family in India. To add to the dynamic mix of topics humorously approached in the show, the sitcom will include progressive elements such as exploring mixed families, gender fluidity, and more.

Fontana told The Economic Times, “We have shot the pilot and second episode, which will be aired in my Youtube channel `Laughter Unlimited.’ We are preparing for promotion and honest feedback, hoping the show will gain traction and be picked up by either TV stations like Comedy Central or video-streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime.”