Bollywood – The City Of Dreams

Glamour, money, and more glamour. Mumbai, or Bombay, is, as you might know, popularly referred to as Bollywood, the city where the Indian stars shine through the pollution and everything is possible – at least recording love stories and over sized commercials. Yesterday, I got a chance to peak into this world of the famous and fabulous when I was scouted as an extra in a commercial. If it was amazing? Awsome? The coolest thing I’ve ever done? No… But it was a nice ending of my India trip. Read on for a summary of the day of a movie star…

07:45 am
Got picked up outside the hostel along with four other people, two French, one Slovenian, and one Canadian, to go to the film site. On the way there an Indian guy whose name I didn’t catch (I’ll call him Indy) told us in rough what was going to happen during the day in between talking Hindi and English in two different cell phones. Seems like a busy guy.

08:30 am
Arrived at location. A bunch of people from different African countries were already there. Apparently the shooting is going to be a commercial for the West Indian World Cricket Tournament.

09:05 am
Got breakfast. Waiting for instructions.

09:45 am
Still waiting. Just got a T-shirt that I’m supposed to wear during the shoot. I think I’m gonna act a tourist together with half of France and Slovenia, and Canada and the other part of France are acting ‘officials’. Indy came by and asked if we were ok.

09:50 am
We are told to stay close to the film site since things are going to start happening soon.

10:40 am
Things finally start to happen: The ‘star’ of the commersial arrives.

11:00 am
People are getting acting instructions. I am told to ‘swosh by’ behind the Africans who will be singing and dancing with the star. I start to prepare mentally, visualising my swosh-by in order to make it the best swosh-by ever.

12:00 pm
Rehearsing swosh-bys and dancing.

12:23 pm
I think I pissed off the famous guy… All I did was trying to make conversation, asking him what he does (plays cricket) and if he’s any good at it. Now he won’t talk to me. Not that he did before, either, but anyway. It’s rude!

02:30 – 03:00 pm
Lunch! I find out that Indy’s name is Paris, or Barish, or Pareesh, or something.

03:05 pm
Resting my eyes for a short while. The work here is tiresome…

03:10 pm
Ordered not to sleep by a nagging lady from the film crew.

03:25 pm
Yes! I think I will be seen on screen! This time I’m still in the background, but it’s more of a ‘foreground type’ of background part.

03:30 pm
My job seems to be over. I just got informed that the cricket guy is somewhat of a super star here in India, and that everyone knows who he is. Maybe that’s why he got annoyed before. I couldn’t care less, though, he seems really dull.

03:30 – 06:00 pm
Trying to keep out of the way and sleep without getting discovered by the nagging lady.

06:00 pm
It’s finally over! We get our promised five hundred rupies and a ride back to the hostel with a crazy driver. He almost kills us when trying to squeeze past another crazy driver. I believe that every driver in Mumbai is crazy. If there ever were any sane drivers here they were probably among the several thousands that are killed in traffic every year.

The rest of the night
Celebrating my new status as a Bollywood Movie Star together with my co-stars the Canadian and Slovenian.