This year I had the great fortune of being asked to join the cast of Transplant, a new medical procedural series for CTV and NBCU filming in Montreal, as the senior surgeon, Dr. Aajay Singh.
This is by far the biggest Canadian TV series I’ve been in and, what’s especially gratifying, is the cast is led by diverse performers, Hamza Haq playing Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed and Ayisha Issa who plays rookie trauma surgeon, Dr. June Curtis. Bash is a Syrian refugee who was a doctor in his home country and gets the chance to resume his career in emergency medicine at York Memorial, a Toronto teaching hospital, but must first redo his residency. It’s an ensemble drama that focuses on the cases, impeccably researched and medically accurate.
Recently, I sat down with Hamza and Ayisha to talk about working on Transplant and being diverse performers in Canada.
Sugith Varughese: Hamza, you’re number one on the call sheet for this show and Ayisha you’re number five. I’m happy to be number ten. And we’re not the only diverse cast members in Transplant. Do you know the significance of having actors of colour so high on the call sheet on a Canadian network television series?
Hamza Haq: I just know that I don’t think it happens nearly enough, so this is long overdue and a step in the right direction.
Ayisha Issa: I have to agree. It’s pretty awesome to be a part of a project like this, but at the same time it should be the norm.
HH: You’re the brown guy who’s been doing this [acting] since before there were brown people in Canada.