Bollywood Hero Chris Kattan is in the Details, interview

At last winter’s TCA’s, Chris Kattan shared some insight into his new series on IFC, a three part mini-series that begins August 6th at 10 PM.

Kattan was on panel with his executive producer, Belisa Balaban, and creative consultant Rishi Malhotra.  Monsters and Critics spoke with Kattan, who shared that despite some of the terrorist bombings in Mumbai, production went ahead as scheduled. “Creatively, what I think that is what’s happening there.  The show is human based, grounded, and about real people, but it’s obviously going to be funny.”

Kattan continued, “It’s not a slapstick sitcom kind of show, and that’s what appealed to me the most.  It’s like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” I would say, it has a great story and a strong cast with these great storylines in it.  IFC has been great about letting it be protected as opposed to changing into some…a lot of network television…nothing against them, obviously, but there’s always a lot of voices that don’t necessarily protect what we want to do…It is something that I would want to see on television.  That’s why I am doing it, and it’s going to be intense.  It’s going to be great.”

The show celebrates the love of classic Hollywood movies. “I really appreciate great movies, like the old MGM musicals and that magic that isn’t quite there anymore.  There’s no more ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ or ‘On the Town,’ or that kind of element.  Bollywood movies have that element,” added Kattan.

The Premise:

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, 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.

Kattan collaborates with SNL-er Maya Rudolph, who plays a version of herself as Kattan’s best friend back home in L.A.  Keanu Reeves appears as a more comedic and heightened version of himself as does brilliant comedic actress Jennifer Coolidge who plays Kattan’s ex-girlfriend.  Comedian David Alan Grier also makes a guest appearance along with Chris’ father Kip King playing himself. Toby Huss (Reno 911) plays Kattan’s agent, Hacker.

According to IFC, several key crew members from Slumdog Millionaire collaborated on the series including line producer Tabrez Noorani, first Assistant Director Raj Acharya and second Assistant Directors Udayan Baijal and Sonia Nemawarkar.  Longinus Fernandes, who choreographed the Oscar®-winning Jai Ho dance sequence at the end of Slumdog Millionaire, has created numerous dance numbers for the series.  Finally, the series’ costume designer, Riyazali Merchant, was also the Oscar-winning costume designer of Slumdog Millionaire.

Singer-songwriter and composer Michael Penn wrote and produced three original songs for the series.  A Bollywood-inspired re imagination of Penn’s hit “No Myth” is performed by the Bombay Dub Orchestra in part two.

Kattan, and SNL alumnus, also spoke to Details magazine recently in a quick hit interview where he discusses “Bollywood Hero,” and his character “Chris Kattan,” frustrated about not getting leading-man roles in America.

“That’s the character,” says Kattan. “Why would I think that I could be that guy on the motorcycle and get the girl and make love to her on the hills?”

Kattan tells Details that Bollywood was the perfect locational foil for his latest smallscreen adventure. “They’re just really fun movies. They’re campy, you know? It used to be films were to escape reality. Especially, like, during the Depression in the thirties—there were all these big, crazy musicals or fun gangster movies. And I guess third-world countries want to escape still.”

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