Has anyone caught Bollywood Hero, starring Chris Kattan on IFC? I saw an ad plastered on the side of a NYC bus a few weeks ago, and had thought it was some Indian movie. Instead, I learned it is a 3-part series on IFC. Not at all what I expected. Chris Kattan as the lead actor? It’s a movie about him, and yet, not him.
To summarize, Chris Kattan plays….. Chris Kattan, who no longer wants to ride on his Mango or Roxbury history, and wants to be known for more serious work. In a moment of his desperation, he accepts an offer from Indian producer to come to India and star in their newest movie, Peculiar Dancing Boy. There’s more background on the IFC series website, but here is an excerpt:
Filmed over 10 weeks on location in Mumbai, India, BOLLYWOOD HERO also co-stars Maya Rudolph, Julian Sands (A Room with a View, Gothic), Neha Dhupia (former Miss India, Shootout at Lokhandwala), Pooja Kumar (Flavors, former Miss India U.S.A.) , Ali Fazal (The Other End of the Line) and Rachna Shah (The Last Monk). Actors making guest appearances include Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Coolidge and David Alan Grier.
BOLLYWOOD HERO revolves around Kattan, who plays a facsimile of himself in this otherwise fictional comedy. Tired of being rejected as a leading-man in Hollywood, he burns his professional bridges in L.A. and accepts a starring role in the Bollywood film Peculiar Dancing Boy. Fresh off the plane, Chris is flung into a world of sibling rivalry, cultural faux pas, a film with no funding, power hungry starlets, and a movie industry, as competitive and cutthroat as Hollywood, where dance moves are essential. This all leads to a pivotal moment when Chris finds himself making out with a horse. But all is not lost!
In his quest to become Bollywood’s leading man, Chris unexpectedly finds a great dance instructor (part Patrick Swayze, part Mr. Miyagi), trawls India’s countryside for his leading lady, falls in love, and ultimately fulfills dreams he never even imagined. Facing culture clashes, language barriers and complex dance moves, Kattan will stop at nothing to conquer his destiny.
I’ve watched the first two episodes, and plan to watch the last one sometime this week. It’s not the greatest series, and the whole “American weirded out in India but finds out he likes it at the end” theme has been done many times previously. Chris Kattan is also not leading man material, but hey, it’s okay. It’s worth watching something different every once in a while, and it’s definitely better than watching reality tv.
Edit: I finished watching the last episode of Bollywood Hero. Overall, this 3-part mini-series was still okay. The ending was a bit rushed. I liked the dance sequence at the end, which was reminiscent of the one at the end of Slumdog Millionaire. My favorite part of all three episodes? Any scene with Beeji, the ornery grandmother. Now SHE made me laugh.