This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside Dr. Cabbie producers First Take Entertainment, announced on Friday it’s working on a television adaptation based on the popular film co-produced by Bollywood’s Salman Khan.
The heartwarming feature film, which released in September, follows the journey of a South Asian doctor — played by Toronto’s Vinay Virmani (known for his role in Breakaway) — who immigrated to Canada but wound up driving a cab instead. However, he becomes a local hero when he converts his taxi into a mobile clinic.
“It’s been a very exciting journey with this movie being out all over the country,” Virmani, who’s currently working on developing the film’s TV version, told Vancouver Desi on Friday. “We all just took in the positive feedback that we got and a lot of people said to us along the way, ‘Hey this could be a really fun, interesting show.’”
While it’s only in the early stages of development, Virmani sees the show elaborating not only on the movie’s story line, but also on its characters, by focusing on new passengers each week and more family and cabbie stories.
“It’s really going to be a brand new show essentially, it will have a lot of humour, it will have a lot of heart, emotion and a very unique cast and ensemble just like the film — from all different parts of the world,” he said.
While Virmani admit “some characters that audiences really loved will be back and there will be a lot of new characters as well,” he said it’s “too early” to reveal exactly what actors will make up the cast. He also declined comment on whether Big Bang Theory actor Kunal Nayyar — who plays a loud, brash Punjabi-rapping taxi driver in the feature film — will also appear in the television version.
According to Virmani, the focus right now is only developing the show concept, so he also wouldn’t say whether he’ll be acting in the show.
“But having said that, yes I would definitely love to be part of it and we’ll see what happens,” he teased. “I’m so invested in this story … my involvement will always be there.”
Virmani hopes to take the show pitch to Canadian networks in the New Year and said he’s not aiming for ethnic networks.
“We want to really go mainstream with this show, because we really feel that the audience that came to see Dr. Cabbie was very diverse, the movie was for everybody,” he said. “Even though the film was about South Asians, I think everybody could sort of relate to it whether it be the immigrant struggle, like a fish out of water, or the basic message of holding on to your dream.”
The developing series marks Virmani’s first foray into television.