Last night, as we were watching the Super Bowl at a friend's house, we remarked about how such major sporting events remain one of the few desi-free zones in the U.S. Not a single South Asian face was visible among the teams, the officials, the announcers and analysts, post-game reporters, Prince's band during halftime or the cutaway shots of the crowd in Miami. Exceptions: Major golf tourneys, thanks to Vijay Singh; and Yankees baseball, thanks to Sweeny Murti, the beat reporter for WFAN radio in NYC. (Though during the BCS college football championship in January 2007, there did happen to be one South Asian, Ann Mukherjee, playing a major role during halftime.)
[ UPDATE: Manish Vij of Ultrabrown reminds that there are/have been South Asian NFL players. The only current player is St. Louis Rams defensive player Brandon Chillar, who has been in the league for three years and had his best year in 2006. There are also two retired NFL players. One is Bobby Singh, a Fiji-Indian-Canadian, who played in the 1999 season for the Rams. Another is Sanjay Rajiv Beach, an Indian-Jamaican-American, who played for four years for the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, and twice with the San Francisco 49ers. See the Manish's 2006 SepiaMutiny posting on this topic.]
But, it turns out, there were a couple of desi faces (whose names I don't know) among the actors in one of the high-profile Bud Light ads that ran during the show. The ad, among those which cost the company $2.6 million to air, featured Latino comic Carlos Mencia trying to teach a group of immigrants how to speak English. Below you will see the video, via YouTube - please place your thoughts in the comments section below.
[UPDATE: Som Chivukula reports that one of the desi actors, the first to speak, is Anjul Nigam. And Natasha Alim reports "the Desi face in the first row is actor/comedian, Ravi Patel from L.A.! He's actually been in several mainstream commercials/shows... I was so excited to see not only the Desi faces, but a familiar one!" Any other tips? See coverage of this ad on Ultrabrown, as well as a previous Ultrabrown posting on Mencia's skits about desis. As you can see from the comments section, at least one person is unhappy with the ad - and this posting. Add your comments below, please.]