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Geraldine Viswanathan Headlines ‘The Broken Hearts Gallery,’ Also Starring Utkarsh Ambudkar

Geraldine Viswanathan Headlines ‘The Broken Hearts Gallery,’ Also Starring Utkarsh Ambudkar

  • The romantic comedy is the latest venture that these two Indian-origin actors have made marking an impressive foray into mainstream cinema.

Australian actress Geraldine Viswanathan headlines the new romantic comedy “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” which opens in theaters across North America on Sept. 11. Utkarsh Ambudkar and Dacre Montgomery co-star in Natalie Krinsky’s directorial from executive producer Selena Gomez. 

“The Broken Hearts Gallery” follows the always unique Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan), a 20-something art gallery assistant living in New York City, who also happens to be an emotional hoarder. After she gets dumped by her latest boyfriend, Lucy is inspired to create ‘The Broken Heart Gallery’, a pop-up space for the items love has left behind. Word of the gallery spreads, encouraging a movement and a fresh start for all the romantics out there, including Lucy herself.

Viswanathan was last seen in HBO’s “Bad Education,” where she plays Rachel Bhargava, a high school sophomore, who finds a passion for journalism when her puff piece for the student newspaper turns into a full blown investigative reporting.

Based on a scandal that rocked the upscale Roslyn School District on Long Island in New York in 2004, “Bad Education” stars Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney in lead roles, along with Annaleigh Ashford, Rafael Casal, and Ray Romano, in supporting roles. 

Viswanathan came into the limelight as the surprise breakout star of the 2018 box office hit, “Blockers,” a raunchy comedy about three American teenage girls determined to lose their virginity on prom night and their equally determined parents’ ploys to stop them. She made headlines for her “sweet connection” with her on-screen dad, played by John Cena.

She was also cast in the Netflix film “The Package,” directed by Jake Szymanski, about four teenage friends on a camping trip during spring break where an unfortunate accident sets off a race against time to save one’s most prized possession.

Viswanathan was listed among The Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Gen Talent 2018,” a list of 20 rising stars who are shaking up the industry.”

Another role that fetched Viswanathan instant recognition and stardom was her lead role in “Hala.” The film, written and directed by Minhal Baig, follows a 16-year-old Muslim girl living in Chicago under the strict, religious rules of her parents. The film was screened in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. TV Guide said Viswanathan’s role in “Hala” is “a big swing” for her, “not just because it’s her first dramatic part, but also because Hala, who skateboards and masturbates and recites Anne Carson poems in class, is a (not the) portrait of a modern Muslim teenager, a community to which Viswanathan is not necessarily connected.”

She is seen opposite Daniel Radcliffe in the TBS comedy series “Miracle Workers,”which also stars Steve Buscemi, Karan Soni, and Jon Bass, is executive-produced by Lorne Michaels, and is based off the Simon Rich book “What in God’s Name.” 

For Viswanathan, being one of a handful of Indian diaspora actresses who Western audiences recognize isn’t enough. She told TV Over Mind that she wants a career full of roles in which the audience and the industry can “see you as a complete person, or character.”

Similarly, she had told InStyle magazine that she feels “very fortunate to be entering the industry at this time where I am able to play a leading role or a role where I don’t feel completely defined by my ethnicity.” She noted that “the playing field has opened up and kind of evened out in a way that it hasn’t been before.” She said that since she’s started working in the industry, she has “felt the progress and I think it’s moving in a good direction, but I think there’s still a ways to go. I just hope we keep telling different and new stories and keep going with it.”

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Ambudkar was recently roped in as the male lead opposite Rose McIver in CBS’ single-camera comedy pilot “Ghosts.” Written by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, and based on the British series, “Ghosts” follows a young couple, Samantha (McIver) and Ryan (Ambudkar), “whose dreams come true when they inherit a beautiful country house, only to find it’s both falling apart and inhabited by many of the deceased previous residents,” according to a synopsis.

Ambudkar was most recently seen in a starring role in the comedy feature “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo. His “We Are Freestyle Love Supreme,” premiered on Hulu July 17. Ambudkar will next be seen as the con-artist Skatch in Disney’s upcoming live-action “Mulan,” and will also play a part in 2020 film “Marry Me,” starring Jennifer Lopez as a pop superstar jilted at the altar. Also in the pipeline are indie film “The Broken Heart Gallery,” and action comedy “Free Guy” from director Shawn Levy.

At the Academy Awards last year, Ambudkar, also a rapper, gave a nod to his roots, as he joined Questlove for a performance recapping the show. And according to reactions on social media and news reports then, Ambudkar impressed many with his “half-time report,” although several weren’t aware of his body of work. Known for his roles on “The Mindy Project” and ABC’s “The Muppets” series, Ambudkar was also seen in “Pitch Perfect.” 

Last year, Ambudkar released two albums, “Vanity and Petty,” as well as “EP Members Only” under the rap moniker UTK the INC.  He is also a member of Freestyle Love Supreme, an improv-rap troupe started by Lin-Manuel Miranda with Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale. He also played Aaron Burr in some early readings of “Hamilton,” but never made it to the stage with the show. He was originally supposed to play Aaron Burr the Broadway show, but the part was given to Leslie Odom Jr.

According to a October 2019 profile in The New York Times, the reason Ambudkar lost out on “Hamilton” is his alcohol addiction, “which made him too erratic and unreliable for the quickly moving train that turned into the biggest Broadway breakout of this decade, cementing rap’s place on theater’s most prestigious stage.” A few years later, Ambudkar eventually did make it to Broadway, in a limited-run stage show with “Freestyle Love Supreme.”

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