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Bhangra fitness pioneer Sarina Jain takes her Masala Bhangra Workout to TV

With her company’s 15th anniversary coming up next year, bhangra dance pioneer Sarina Jain is taking her international Masala Bhangra Workout (MBW) bhangra dance-exercise program to the next level with an Indiegogo-funded informercial.

Sarina Jain leads a Masala Bhangra class.
Lauren Fisher

She’s already raised over $24,000 of her $35,000 goal since the campaign’s May 9 start, and is anxious to commence production after it ends on June 13.

“We've got a show commitment from our production partners, so the show is going to be produced regardless of meeting our goal,” says Jain. “But the only way we can produce a Bollywood-style show with all the big dance scenes and awesome production values is by meeting it.”

Indeed, Jain is looking to enlist at least 500 fitness enthusiasts--to include 100 performer/dancers--to participate in the 30-minute informercial production in “flash mob style scenes on stage and in the streets.” Following pre-production beginning July 1, she’ll shoot in New York the weekend of July 26-27.

“We’re hoping for a true Bollywood experience,” says Jain, conjuring visions of the big Bollywood movie song-and-dance production numbers. “We’ll also hit the fitness studio with a small group to shoot close-ups and testimonials. It’s an opportunity for anyone--even those with two left feet!”

Her high-energy Masala Bhangra workouts, she insists, are accessible for all, children included.

Bhangra, of course, is the intensely rhythmic Punjabi folk music that is based on the beat of the double-sided, barrel-shaped dhol drum. Masala is Hindi for "spicy" and is often used to describe typical Bollywood movies.

Jain has long mixed bhangra and Bollywood in her MBW classes and workout videos, DVDs and CDs. The informercial, she says, is “a dream come true.”

“It’s the first time that there’s been an Indian dance/workout informercial,” she notes. “People from around the world have donated—Singapore, the U.K., Indonesia. Masala Bhangra fans and Sarina Jain fans. People of all different sizes, shapes and cultures are coming together. It will be more like a series of workshops, because I’ll teach everyone the choreography—and it will definitely be a learning experience for everyone.”

Attendees are being urged to “channel your masculine side with bhangra, channel your feminine grace with Bollywood,” according to Jain.

“That goes both for men and women,” she says.

“The biggest difference,” Jain adds, “is that normally when I do something, I don’t tell anyone about it until it’s done, and then announce it in a big way. This is the first time I’m announcing something in advance—which is empowering and also scary.”

But she notes that the Indiegogo campaign is “well thought-out,” thanks largely to her hooking up with direct-response TV media giant Cannella Response Television, which she says can deliver the informercial to over 100 million households in the U.S. Also on board is MBW’s informercial production partner, MCM Television.

“Our informercial media partners are the biggest in the business,” says Jain, adding that fitness products are statistically the most successful category in direct-response TV. Masala Bhangra, she feels, is primed to follow such best-selling workout programs as The Thigh Master, Billy Blanks, Zumba and P90X for consumers looking for the next best fitness thing.

Noting that she now has trained 500 Masala Bhangra “ambassador” instructors in 20 countries, Jain states, “The time has come for Masala Bhangra to reach the masses.”

To this end, she has a reward schedule starting at supporter credit listing at the end of the informercial for $10 contributions and ending with a single executive producer role and credit, for $10,000. Based on the donation level, Masala Bangra DVDs, music CDs created expressly for the informercial, t-shirts and Jain’s new Masala Bhangra Diet Plan are also premiums, with the $299 level securing participation in the informercial as an on-camera dancer/performer--along with an HD digital copy of the finished product plus the complete Masala Bhangra Workout package.

Said package, says Jain, will be promoted by the informercial at a pricepoint topping $100.

“It's going to be a two-day bhangra dance party!” Jain anticipates.

Post-production of the informercial will be completed by the end of August, with initial airing in mid-September and full roll-out via cable and satellite at the end of the year and early 2015, both domestically and internationally.

“We’ve already got 35 dancers signed up, and people are flying in from all over to be part of it,” says Jain. “So many people are out there supporting it. I’m truly excited and grateful.”

California-born Indian-American Jain grew up dancing in traditional Indian dance competitions—and also danced hip-hop--before discovering bhangra. She became committed to health and fitness after losing her father to a heart attack, and has now been teaching fitness for 20 years while promoting her Masala Bhangra Workout program the last 14.

“We want women, men, teenagers and kids. Masala Bhangra is for everyone, so we want people from every walk of life,” Jain concludes. “Who knows when something like this will happen again? Let’s go live it up!”

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