Actor Rushi Kota talks about his role in Hallmark’s Make Me A Match

Vivi enlists the help of an Indian Matchmaker, Raina, to change her fate in love. However, Raina’s son Bhumesh just might be the change Vivi needed all along in Make Me a Match. Photo: Eva Bourne, Rushi Cota ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Allister Foster
Vivi enlists the help of an Indian Matchmaker, Raina, to change her fate in love. However, Raina’s son Bhumesh just might be the change Vivi needed all along in Make Me a Match. Photo: Eva Bourne, Rushi Cota ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: Allister Foster /

Rushi Kota has been on our screens for many years. You may recognize him for his stint as Dr. Vik Roy, a surgical intern on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, but he’s since made the jump from the dramatic tension found in the hospital room to the light and charming world of Hallmark rom-coms with the upcoming release of the network’s latest TV movie, Make Me A Match in which he stars opposite Eva Bourne (When Calls The Heart).

In Make Me A Match, a woman named Vivi (portrayed by Bourne) enlists the help of an Indian Matchmaker, Raina (portrayed by Rekha Sharma), to change her fate in love. However, Raina’s son Boom (portrayed by Kota) just might be the change Vivi needed all along.

As the movie is set to release June 24., Kota discusses his journey into acting, his experience on-set, and how Make Me A Match can inspire those looking to have for their own love story come true in the digital age.

Culturess: So you have a very interesting background. I read that acting was not your initial career choice. Could you elaborate on that and what made you pivot into the arts?

Rushi Kota: For sure, when I went to undergrad, I went to go study automotive engineering and it was [because I was] having these pipe dreams of becoming a Formula One racer. That’s when I learned that was not something that was possible. I think it was just too late in the game for that. I do love cars and cars are something that I always just gravitate towards, like Fast and Furious and how cool it is to see how fast they go and how awesome they look, but after I graduated during the whole 2008-2009 mortgage crisis in the States, that’s when I kind of realized that fixing cars and being under the hood of a car is not really something that I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I think that’s not where my skills were. During that time in college, I was also dabbling in modeling. Then after graduating, I decided to test the waters, so to speak, and then slowly make a change that way.

Culturess: That’s awesome. Well, I know recently you’ve come off of multi-episode arcs on Ordinary Joe from NBC, and then I also saw you in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, which is really exciting. Were you excited to enter into the romcom space more deeply and lead a movie from such a storied network?

Rushi Kota: Yeah, I think I always wanted to do a rom-com, but this just kind of landed in my lap fairly quickly. In all of my previous works, I was always a really large supporting character. For the first time, I was the lead in this movie. It was definitely anxiety-fueled and daunting to all of a sudden be number one on the call sheet and I’m like, “Oh, my God. So much responsibility.”  Once I was able to really get my hooks into the script and into the character, I was able to have a lot of fun and even on set, it was a dream come true.

Culturess: What makes this movie particularly special is the representation for Indian men in leading roles. So what does it mean to contribute to that representation in the genre specifically?

Rushi Kota: Yeah, South Asian men specifically have been typecast and stereotyped for so long in Hollywood and with the rise of Never Have I Ever, and it’s really given a chance for South Asian actors to shine in leading roles and now for to be the lead in in a romcom for Hallmark, that’s really cool. The tides are changing and it’s giving people who look like me and you a lot more opportunity to shine and be seen in these roles and honestly, it’s just really nice to be able to tell our side of the story, I feel.

Culturess: I know you are acting opposite Eva Bourne, who is a Hallmark veteran. What was it like on-set? How was it to establish that chemistry on-set as well?

Rushi Kota: God, she was just a nightmare. [laughs] No, she’s amazing. We met the day before we had to start shooting and I think the chemistry was just instant. We just got to know each other. I think  once we got the first day jitters out of the way, that’s like that on any set. The first day when you’re really taking all of this, trying everything that you’ve been rehearsing and practicing and putting it into practicality, once we got that out of the way, I think it was just really smooth sailing. Not that we weren’t listening to each other on the first day, we were, but I think our listening for each other just became a lot stronger. The one thing that we both wished was that when we got through the first week of shooting was if we could do our first scene now because it would be so much better but looking back on it, it was still good. We just wished we had the rapport that we had at the end of the week in the beginning, but yeah, it was really fun and she’s so easy to work with. She’s very collaborative as an actor and I had a lot of fun. We were able to joke in-between takes and then once the once the director yelled “action”, we just popped right into place and that just shows how professional and how “on” she is. So I had a lot of fun working with her.

Culturess: She sounds awesome. She seems like a lovely person, so I’m glad to hear that. One thing that I loved, and obviously this encompasses the whole premise, but it’s difficult for some people to find love on their own. It’s another to have a matchmaker involved. It seems like such a fun but enjoyable thing to think about. What do you think audiences who might be looking for love themselves take away from this film?

Rushi Kota: Yeah, I think it’s to try something different. I think social media dating apps have become so popular that now when people are looking for love, is that that’s kind of the the first thing that people go to because it’s so popular and so available and all these different dating sites, they promise a whole bunch of different things and different style of doing things. Indian Matchmaking has been around for so long and they’ve been a lot of successful. If you look at all the marriage rates of Indian couples and people who’ve been match made, they are highly successful. So I would say, “Give something give it a try and see if it works for you.” If it works for you or if it doesn’t, at least you gave it a try, I would say, right?

Culturess: I think everyone can take a piece of that and apply it to their own lives, whether romantically, platonically, so that’s really cool to hear. So I know you’re probably busy. I want to know what’s next for you, any upcoming projects.

Rushi Kota: For sure. So three of them are coming up. There’s one I just finished shooting. This one’s called A Girl in the Pool and it stars Freddie Prince  Jr. It’s a satirical thriller that we just wrapped up last week. I’m not sure when they’re going to finish editing or where it’s coming out on, but that’s something to look forward to. Then in October, on October 20, a movie called Dumb Money, which I shot last year, is going to be coming out. That has literally everyone in it. It’s got Sebastian Stan, Seth Rogen, Paul Dano, American Ferreira, Shailene Woodley; All these wonderful people. I got to play the CEO of Robin Hood. This movie is pretty much about the whole Reddit revolution that took place in Jan. 2021; About how all the Reddit users pumped up the GameStop stock and cost the hedge funds upwards of $10 billion. That’s coming out. Then there’s another. It’s an animated project with Lily Singh and she’s a huge YouTube influencer and Instagram influencer. She also has a talk show, and that is called The Mindful Adventures of Unicorn Island.

It’s partnering with Headspace and YouTube Originals to create this mindful animated show for children to help them overcome their family anxieties or anxieties and issues and whatnot. So that one’s coming out sometime in the end of the year. That one has Padma Lakshmi, Kal Penn, and Utkarsh Ambudkar is in there and myself. I’m really excited for that.

Culturess: Wow, all of those have heavy hitters!

Rushi Kota: Yeah, it’s nice!

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Make Me A Match premieres Saturday, June 24 at 8/7c on the Hallmark Channel.