Mango Pickle! Former SNL-er Chris Kattan Debuts in Mumbai Miniseries

IFC’s miniseries Bollywood Hero premiered on Tuesday, August 4, at the Rubin Art Museum. SNL alum Chris Kattan plays the leading man in this (surprisingly) funny new show, co-starring Miss India USA Pooja Kumar and real-life Bollywood starlet Neha Dhupia.
Edward Norton walked around outside the screening room, looking at artist Pablo Bartholomew’s vibrant photographs of the Nagas hill people of India, before taking a seat near the front, and Seth Meyers blew kisses to former SNL co-star Rachel Dratch.
The screening of episode one showed off Mr. Kattan’s (again, surprising) versatility in what appears to be his most grown-up venture yet. He plays an exaggeration of himself, hanging with SNL co-stars Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg, and lamenting the, ahem, rather low-brow films he is consistently offered in Hollywood. There are plenty of jabs about Kattan characters Mango and Mr. Peepers, and a few more about Corky Romano, but it takes an appearance by Keanu Reeves to lead him to the decision to go to Mumbai and take on a Bollywood film.
“It’s refreshing to be proud of something that you’re involved in,” Mr. Kattan told the Transom.  Of the humor, he said: “It’s dry but it’s not gross and we will say the f-word but we don’t talk about the vagina a lot. It’s real, and it’s not offensive. I think the best comedies are the kind that last—that tell a story. As opposed to, like, this is so frickin’ funny, but then two months later someone outdoes that joke, and you don’t even remember the movie but it made $200 million anyway. We’re not in it for the money, we really wanted to create something memorable.”
Shot on location in Mumbai, the show contrasts begging children and garbage-strewn beaches with jasmine gardens and Mercedes-driving chauffeurs. “That’s the reality of being in India,” said Ms. Dhupia. “Fortunes are made overnight—people hit rock bottom instantly, and people at rock bottom shoot up. It’s a crazy country—in a good way!”
In true Bollywood style, the show features song-and-dance numbers, choreographed by Longinus Fernandes, who also choreographed dances in Slumdog Millionaire. Unfortunately for fans of the Butabi brothers, none of the dances feature Night at the Roxbury signature head-bobs.
“He’s got a style, he’s very unique,” Mr. Fernandes said of Mr. Kattan’s dance skills.
When asked for her thoughts on Mr. Kattan’s dancing, Ms. Dhupia replied, “Oh my God! Do you want me to be honest?” with a laugh. “With Chris, he had the right attitude—he made every wrong move look right!”
“He’s hilarious and he’s so talented!” gushed Ms. Kumar of her co-star. “Because of him I’m going to take improv classes!”
“It has cultural significance and Chris Kattan was dancing, so it had everything I wanted!” Mr. Meyers told the Transom after the screening.
“I liked how it didn’t fit many stereotypes—like American sitcom kind of things,” Ms. Dratch said. “He made his own sort of genre there!”