Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Chris Kattan, Julian Sands
Director: Bill Bennett
Genres: Comedy, Television
Chris Kattan is fed-up with not being taken seriously by Hollywood, so he accepts an offer to star in a big- time Mumbai production called ?Peculiar Dancing Boy?. But before he can conquer India, Chris will have to survive... more »
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Slumdog Chris Kattan
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 12/25/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Haven't done a Bollywood review in a while and after this one, I still won't have. BOLLYWOOD HERO is about as legit a Bollywood flick as Chris Kattan makes dashing leading man material. And that's the core conceit of this three-part television mini-series, really. Chris Kattan as the romantic lead? Who would've thunk it? At first glance (and second and third), the guy doesn't have the looks or height or charisma to pull it off. Dude has the sex appeal of icky and he's about as polished as a salty longshoreman with pit stains.
Chris Kattan, the most hated man in India? How did that come about? Chris Kattan, in one of those meta-fiction moments, plays Chris Kattan and the thing starts with what may be a close approximation of his life and career in real. Chris has had enough of languishing at the bottom, playing his silly parts (his latest opus has him playing an alien called "Klaptar"). He yearns for the leading role, yet realizes he'll never get a whiff in Hollywood. He runs into fledgling director Monty Kapoor (Ali Fazal) who offers him the lead role in a Bollywod movie titled Peculiar Dancing Boy. Chris snaps it up.
But Mumbai, India isn't kind to Mango, culture shock being a mothereffer. Hapless and bumbling, forced out of his comfort zone (if that's what you call getting kicked around in Hollywood), Kattan takes on this endearing underdog quality. It turns out that when refraining from mugging so much in front of the camera, dude becomes quite likable. And I think that this toning down results in better comedy. And we've all been there before, with committing some social gaffe. In Chris's case, it's a grossly inappropriate public display of affection which makes Chris persona non grata in the eyes of India, and this jeopardizes Peculiar Dancing Boy. Can Chris Kattan, stranger in a strange land, rally the fractured cast and crew? Can he turn himself into a respectable dancer? Because in Bollywood, song & dance productions are a big deal. Can he be the romantic lead in real life and win the level-headed but suspicious movie producer Priya (Pooja Kumar)? Answers: Yes, no, maybe.
BOLLYWOOD HERO was broadcast on the IFC network on August 2009 and I caught up with it in its weekend re-airings, liked it enough to tune in on three separate Sundays. This is a send up of Hollywood and Bollywood, although the actors do make you care about the story. I'm a big fan of Bollywood, so I got all the digs. People not familiar with Indian cinema and its sensibilities may be a bit at sea with some of the bits. Chris Kattan not being able to dance - or dance well - is a bigger deal than you might expect. Bollywood supporters who aren't into westernized versions of Bollywood may also turn up their noses at this. So be it. This isn't to everyone's taste.
The ladies of India, exotic and gorgeous, and I'll try to restrain myself from bringing up Aishwarya Rai, surely the most beautiful woman on the planet. Ash isn't in this one, but we do get lovelies like Pooja Kumar, Rachna Shah, and the stunning Neha Dhupia. Several of Kattan's SNL pals pop in, as well as a hysterical, self-mocking cameo by Keanu Reeves and a co-starring turn by Julian Sands who, oddly, doesn't play himself (every other western actor plays him/herself). Chris Kattan is surprisingly good in the lead and is believable in the romantic scenes (he and Pooja Kumar have nice chemistry). Again, I think it's key that Kattan tempers his usual over-the-top antics (although, okay, a bit of foolish trickles out). This may be the only crack dude gets playing the leading man, and he makes the most of it.
There are several song & dance numbers here, and they're... okay. But don't kid yourself that the musical production is as lavish as what you'd see in your average Indian cinema. But I dig that the film borrows the very catchy "Dhoom Taana" song from Om Shanti Om.
It's a spoof and sometimes it gets really silly, and yet there's a solidity at the core of BOLLYWOOD HERO. There's even a bit of that same message from SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS thrown in. A recurring annoyance when I saw this mini-series on the IFC channel - and, holy Sharukh Khan, I hope they don't make it in the DVD as a bonus feature - are those commercials of Kattan shilling for the Palm Pre smartphone. I got fed up with all that "AllaKattan!" nonsense (it's what Kattan yelled whenever he used his "magic" smartphone). There's silly, and then there's just inane.
Surprisingly, BOLLYWOOD HERO deserves a rating of 3.5 stars out of five. And this is in huge part because of Chris Kattan's performance, not in spite of it. I'll also mention that the third act doesn't really live up to what the first two episodes had built up to. But if it inspires you enough to give Bollywood a try, then it's done its job. If it inspires you to give Kattan's other films a try, well, that's just flirting with disappointment."
Perfect casting to support Kattan
trdr555 | usa | 05/30/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hollywood is able to get to the essence and charm of Indian film making in this mini-series. This series makes you smile throughtout, how did they do that? I can see from the heartfelt participation of the entire star cast and technical. "Kattan" in the Malayalam language means unsophisticated tribal man from the forests just entering the city, and that is at the core around which Indians try to adapt to new environments and succeed. Seems like Kattan has that old world connection. You see him submitting himself to the moment removing all pretensions and sophistication of a Hollywood personality and just loving India unconditionally. This is an unassuming good natured movie not typical of Hollywood and more spice,color, music and drama. Typical of Indian films, you can see comedic characters (eg, the auto driver) here and then. I think a few more songs (for example while Kattan was riding on the road, a must song situation for a priceless scene like that) and a little more tension and background score may have helped push this beautiful movie out of the shy zone. The songs were smart and good, though hardly addictive like Indian film songs, kept in vein with the tone,elegance of the America brand. The dance song Bachna He Haseena is a hint of Indian film songs. However, I did not like foul language, took the innocence out of the beautiful script. Like Bride and Prejudice, Bend It Like Beckam, Bollywood Hero I hope to see more and more lovable collaboration between the two of the great entertaining nations. ( Examples of exciting film music - [..]"