Brian Benni on Family Karma: “I wanted this culture to relate and be an inspiration”

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By Bahar Sachdeva

Brian Benni shares in this tell-all interview everything from his favorite Bollywood stars to which scene from Family Karma made him cringe the most.

How do you feel about being a part of the first all-indian cast on US reality TV?
I’m floored. I’m thrilled. It’s something I never thought would happen and the fact that I got to be a part of something like this, more so to represent the Indian culture. For me, this was something I had grown up kind of struggling with and I’ve always just wanted to showcase it and show it off and have everybody else relate to it. Just being part of it was something so amazing and awesome for me.

What motivated you to be a part of this show?
Growing up, it was a little tough for me. I wanted people to hear my story and how it’s a bit different from everyone else’s. Things that I’ve gone through, whether it was in school, or extracurricular outside of that. I wanted this culture to relate and be an inspiration and that’s what drove me behind it.

How were you able to convince your family to be a part of this show?
(Laughs) It definitely took a little bit of coaxing but I think that at the end of the day, I just kind of hit them with ‘hey, I’m your son, do you love me? And if so, show me by doing this for me’. I think that works! (Laughs) It’s fundamental you know, ‘how much do you love me mom?’ (Laughs)

Which scene was your favorite scene that has aired so far?
There’s one scene that I felt really good about personally and it was great for the world to see, was me blessing and doing the car puja. Mainly because people, I guess, didn’t know that Indians do rituals and go about blessing things. I’ve gotten messages about that like ‘wow! are you being bougie? are you being extra? why are you doing this?’ and a lot of people didn’t understand it and didn’t know that its truly a part of our culture and that’s something very normal for us. For me, it was really cool to have people see the ritual, see what it means to us and even for me, I also learned more in that process since I had never blessed my car before. It was really cool to understand and just dive back into it. That was a big one for me.

Secondly, fire tower, just from a personal standpoint for me was one of my favorites because it was something I had shied away from a bit in the past. A lot of these Indian events, I missed out on a lot. Growing up, going away to college, I ended up missing a lot of these awesome events and never really realized how amazing they are. Going there and being nervous about not knowing everyone there, but at the end of the night I had met so many people, made so many friends, had such a blast fob-ing out, dancing to all my favorite Bollywood classics. It was an awesome experience. I’ll be there every year now.

Where there any scenes that made you cringe a little bit when you watched the episodes?
Oh My God of course! (Laughs) I think just watching myself, I just cringed at myself in general. The Monica scene, the Monica backyard scene was really cringey for me. That was (laughs) I think for me, and I think a lot of Indian guys are like this, just being that vulnerable, and opening up that much and showing that much, my true feelings that I’ve never ever done off camera, let alone on camera. That was something very cringey, just really letting it all out and essentially getting rejected (laughs), that made it worse.
Also, maybe one of the Vishal/Lopa aunty scenes, that was just tough for me to watch for him.

Has your relationship with Monica changed?
I think this whole experience changed our relationship for sure. Growing through that, her seeing another side of me and me seeing another side of her. I think we’re at a different place in each other’s lives. I don’t think it’s as close as it was and those things happen. We’re still close friends and still keep in touch, talk on the phone, things like that, but yeah, it definitely changed us. It made us grow.

What is something that fans of Family Karma don’t know about you, but you wish they knew?
I don’t know how much more I want people to know. (Laughs) A lot of people took to the Shaan scene with me as being overwhelmed with someone else’s intellect or something like that. I want to tell people that I am very intelligent, very smart, I do also know a lot of facts, a lot of fun pop culture facts. (laughs) I know probably some of the most random facts you could think of. Another thing is, I thoroughly enjoy the water, I’m the first guy to jump off the kayak, and I’m a little crazy when it comes to the ocean. I think, thirdly, I’ve learned about this word, simp, I think it’s a Gen-Z term and people are saying that “I’m a simp for Monica”, meaning I would do anything for her no matter what, as if I cater to her needs. And I want to tell everybody that “I’m NOT a simp, okay?” (Laughs) If I care about somebody deeply, yes I would go to the ends of the earth for them. But I would never mess with my integrity as the man that I am. I definitely cater to people I love but I’m not submissive or subservient to them. (Laughs)

FAMILY KARMA — Season:1 — Pictured: (l-r) Toolsie Benni, Brian Benni, Dharma Benni — (Photo by: Tommy Garcia/Bravo)

From the cast of friends, who do you feel the most closest to and who would you be the least closest to, and why?
Besides Monica since I’ve known her forever, I would say I’m equally closest to both Vishal and Amrit. I think they both are very authentic, organic, and real. When we’re together, we always have a great time. We have the same sense of humor, we joke about the same things. I could just really be myself with those guys. I love them to death. I think I’m the least closest to Shaan out of the whole group. Its nothing negative, I just think we don’t have much in common or have the same interests.

Who would you want to self-quarantine for two weeks?
I think it would have to be, drumroll… since I’m still thinking, Bali! Bali’s a good time. Bali’s just fun, she has this dry, witty sense of humor and she’s also a mom! She would cook and take care of me too. Her boyfriend, O’Malley, her daughter, Anushka, they are also a blast to hang out with. Bali likes to drink and I like to drink, so we’d get along well.

For audience, who is your favorite actor, actress and what is your favorite movie?
I’m an old soul when it comes to Bollywood, let’s just start there. For me, the GOAT (Greatest of all time), is Shah Rukh Khan. I was just watching Chalte Chalte the other day with my mom. [laughs] I do like Tiger Shroff but for me, Shah Rukh Khan is my favorite. My favorite bollywood movie is Mohabbetein and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, those are my top two for sure. His acting and how he carries his emotions in his eyes and I just love the entire soundtrack from Mohabbetein. The whole scene when he’s banging the drums and looking into Amitabh Bachchan’s eyes, that whole moment, I get weak at the knees. I also like Hrithik Roshan, for just being muscular and for being a stud. From the girls, I love Kareena Kapoor and more so, the childhood crush I had growing up was Aishwarya Rai. I had a poster of her glued to my ceiling so when I would wake up, I would see Aishwarya Rai every morning. I also loved Rani Mukerji growing up as well.

The finale of Family Karma airs tonight on Bravo at 9pm!

Be sure to read our other interviews as well including, Bali, Monica, Vishal, Amrit and Shaan.

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