Michigan Film Office grants ‘Ask Dr. Nandi’ $1.5 million

By: Sherri Kolade | C&G Newspapers | Published July 22, 2014

 Dr. Partha Nandi on the “Ask Dr. Nandi” talk show set talks with Christine Carter, a “happiness expert,” July 17.

Dr. Partha Nandi on the “Ask Dr. Nandi” talk show set talks with Christine Carter, a “happiness expert,” July 17.

Photo by Donna Agusti

FARMINGTON HILLS/TROY — Playing everything from Lady Gaga’s “Applause” to Ke$ha’s “Blow,” the headphones-clad deejay was live behind his computer as the crowd of 200 danced and screamed before the main act arrived.

This party was the first day of shooting the “Ask Dr. Nandi” talk show July 17 at his studio, 23689 Industrial Park Drive in Farmington Hills.

Reminiscent of the first day of school, the high energy that filled the studio was only to be expected on set and behind the scenes, as staff members stood in front of the audience, playing games and songs to hype them up and remind them to give the panning cameras all they had.

The zeal was palpable as gastroenterologist Dr. Partha Nandi stepped onto the stage and sat down with guests varying from medical experts to parents on his  hour-long, Emmy Award-winning physician talk show, locally filmed and produced.

“People who come from outside just cannot believe the enthusiasm of the Michigan audience,” Nandi said. “They go, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable.’ It is really quite an electric kind of environment. People are really excited about doing the show here and how we are educating folks and entertaining them at the same time.”

On the show, Nandi discusses topics in medical care, ranging from veteran health care to teen drug abuse and HIV.

Nandi’s show airs at 1 p.m. weekdays on Dish Network Channel  268 and Comcast 400; on Impact Network and Diya TV, a South Asian broadcast network based in San Francisco; and on the Doctor Television Channel.

His nationally syndicated show was picked up in Qatar and Kuwait, and is available online.

He writes his own scripts, chooses his own topics and books his own guests with the help of his wife, Kali — who is the show’s producer — and a production team, all while he continues to practice medicine full-time. His practice is based in Troy.

Recently, the Lansing-based Michigan Film Office awarded the show a $1.5 million film incentive.

“We are excited and happy about it,” Nandi said. “They usually have this reserved for movies
and television programs. It is quite an honor and achievement for us to be able to spotlight
Michigan, and achievements of Michiganders, and getting a quality product that goes throughout the country and throughout the world.”

According to a published report, 14 projects were awarded $58 million in incentives during fiscal year 2014.

Nandi said the talk show has received the grant every year since the show’s inception in 2012.

“That is the beauty of it. You spend the money and provide the opportunity for Michigan and Michiganders, and after that point, they then grant you the award back,” he said.

“Ask Dr. Nandi” Chief Marketing Officer Kristen Wolosonowich described the partnership with the Michigan Film Office as “exciting.”

“The (Michigan) Film Office tells Dr. Nandi and his team that the state of Michigan believes in us,” she said. “It allows us to employ the people of our great show. … (It is) keeping money in the state.”

By keeping money in the state, the talk show will be able to spread its message locally, then globally, Wolosonowich said.

“The plan has always been to take the show global and make a difference in people’s lives,” she said.

Studio audience member Shirley Koebbe, 78, of Warren, started attending the show in 2012 and said it has already made a difference in her life.

“I have learned so much about a lot of health topics,” she said. “I learned about Zumba. We enjoyed that.”

Koebbe, who is also a movie extra, said she has made a lot of friends on set. One time during her birthday last July, the audience and crew made a fuss by singing and dancing with her.

“That was the best birthday I ever had,” she said.

Studio audience member Barbara Robinson, 66, of Detroit, said she is glad the show is local and impactful.

“(Nandi) and his staff are awesome,” Robinson said. “He cares about the people.”

Nandi said that because the show is committed to talking about topics or subjects in detail, they have staying power.

“Our goal is to be able to improve the lives of the viewer and their family,” Nandi said. “That is what started this whole process.”

He added that while he is committed to practicing medicine, he wanted to take the waiting room
and doctor’s office discussions with patients and parlay that into his talk show for a wider reach.

“We are successful and fortunate to be able to do that,” he said.

Visit www.askdrnandi.com for upcoming filming dates or studio audience information.

Michigan Film Office officials were unable to respond by press time.

Staff Writer Terry Oparka contributed to this report.