Bollywood Energy Turns IFC Marketing 'Heroic'

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FC turned New York into Mumbai on the Hudson, ahead of the Aug. 6 premiere of three-night original comedy mini-series Bollywood Hero, starring Chris Kattan, ex of Saturday Night Live ("Mango," "Mr. Peepers"), and Pooja Kumar and Neha Dhupia, who's a real Bollywood star.

Tuesday night, IFC had a screening at the Himalayan-art themed Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea, followed by a party attended by some of Kattan's SNL buddies (Seth Meyers, Rachel Dratch) and actor Edward Norton, interrupted by the occasional Bollywood-style line dance.

Earlier, IFC choreographed "flash mobs" in Times Square, Penn Station and other New York locations. The spontaneous-looking dance event in Times Square generated a lively 5-minute music video that went straight to YouTube (and spread virally, including to Multichannel.com). Look for Kattan, Dhupia and Kumar on the fringe, posing as picture-taking tourists.

Jennifer Caserta, IFC's general manager, said the marketing was in line with what Rainbow Media-owned IFC does for one or two tentpole events a year. "We are IFC, let's be frank," she said, disclosing no budgets. "We have to be lean and mean in our consumer marketing."

The combination of Kattan, as "a name attached to a project," and the Bollywood energy - "my god the colors, and the women, everything's so gorgeous!" - made it seem bigger, though. The show certainly got more press than IFC usually has.

The next tentpole event comes in mid-October, with a six-part documentary on Monty Python. IFC's bringing the five surviving cast members of the British comedy troupe to New York for a screening, and expect more viral events. "How could you not?" Caserta said. Also expect a big piece on Python in next month's Vanity Fair - a double dose for Rainbow after the spread on AMC's Mad Men in the Conde Nast title's current issue.

Puts pressure on to deliver audiences, though, right? "That's good!" Caserta said. "It keeps it interesting. What's next?"

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