We arrived in Mumbai from Goa exhausted… it was a long 18-hour transportation day. Aside from almost crashing into another bus on our way to the bus station we were excited that the bus we were taking to Mumbai was nicer than the ones we had taken previously. Unfortunately that didn’t mean we would sleep well. I tossed and turned and arrived in Mumbai feeling like shit with a crock in my neck. We made it to the building that had a few budget hotels in and as we were getting prices some man jumps in and ask if we want to be an extra in a Bollywood movie? I look at Val knowing well that was one of the main things we wanted to do in Mumbai. I look at him and tell him one sec… I am trying to find a hotel. We didn’t stay at that one so went to the one below, he follows us talking away about what we would be doing. I let him know please give us a second… we want to find a place to stay and put our bags down. The next hotel is okay and we agree to stay there for 6 nights.
The guy is waiting for us at the front desk after we check in. He tells us they are in need of extras for filming the next day. We would be picked up at 8am & dropped off at 9pm. The day would include breakfast & lunch along with payment of 500Rs ($10). Val & I talked a bit; I asked the receptionist if this was legit and not a scam he said yes it’s safe. So Val & I agreed.
The next morning we woke up anxiously got dressed and were ready at 8am. We were excited yet nervous, because we read it could either be an amazing experience or horrible. The guy we had spoke to picked us up right on time. It was Val and I along with 5 others. We chatted away asked the usual travel questions… Where you from? How long have you been traveling? Etc… etc… After about an hour journey we arrived to location. It was a HYATT hotel. We were ushered around the building to the side. A few tables were set up already with a breakfast buffet ready for us. I thought okay wow this is going to be an awesome experience.
We had an amazing buffet breakfast… & of course my fat ass went back for second. We then end up waiting and waiting… we are all just chatting away and wondering what’s going to happen next. Then a man arrives with our visitors pass (it already had the food stains on it those aren’t mine just FYI). We put them on and follow him into the hotel. We are all in awe… like we have never been inside a fancy hotel. I know for most of us it’s been a while. A few of us make remarks that it is crazy how something so nice is in the mist of so much poverty, but that’s India. We make it to the last floor and as we turn the corner see the set and are ushered into the room next to it.
We see lots and lots of clothes everywhere along with so many people. We all are just standing there like “okay what now”. I can’t stop giggling as they are all just eyeing us up and down. I knew what they were doing sizing us up and dressing us up already. Yup that is just what they were doing because next thing we know they are taking clothes out to see if it fits us and then having them ironed.
As I am waiting for my clothes to be ironed I’m snooping around at the desk that is in the room filled with the latest gossip in Bollywood. I couldn’t go through it all, but loved the first page on top and had to get a shot.
While I was looking at the desk Val was fully dressed already and getting her hair and make up done. Moments later I had my ironed clothes in hand… it was some over sized gray slacks and a white with blue-stripped shirt. It was a cute outfit and something I would wear at home. I was comfortable, but kept thinking fuck this is the nicest clothes I have worn since my best friends wedding at home. Womp womp… life of a backpacker. We both looked so cute all dolled up that we had to take a photo.
Then the real fun started… by fun I mean waiting… & waiting… & waiting… we were all dressed up with nowhere to go. I snooped around the desk some more. I found the hotel menu and thought I would take a look. I found the exact address of where we were and thought I’d snap a photo of that. Then I gasped looking at the prices of the food. If you look at the 1st item listed PLAIN OR MASALA DOSA for 400Rs ($8). Umm we normally pay 35Rs ($0.70) for that and I’m sure it taste just the same if not better. It reminded me of why I am a budget traveler… I am to cheap to spend that much on things now. It also made me cringe at the thought of going home and paying regular prices for things.
Anyway sorry for that tangent… back to being a BOLLYWOOD EXTRA. Oh yeah we just waited some more. Now that every one was dressed they cleared the bed for us so we were enjoying the AC and bed. Then finally some one comes in ask if we are ready. We say yes & then he lets us know what we are going to be doing. He says “It’s a house party… so you are at a house party.” That’s it… we look at each other like okay so what are we doing? We are ready to go to the set, but then oh wait we are asked to wait some more.
Finally after hours of waiting we are on the set of the movie. I didn’t even dare bring my camera with me because I had already gotten in trouble for taking photos outside of the room. We are on the set and I keep thinking holy shit this is like legit… this is shit you see on BEHIND THE SCENES videos. The set is a house party for sure a huge TV set then a coffee table filled with pizza, beer, wine glasses. It looks like it is a good house party is going on. Then in front of it all is the tracks where the huge camera is being rolled on with the director sitting behind it.
Then the two stars walk on the set… the guy looks like a douche bag. I could tell already with his smirk that he thought he was the shit. Moments later a beautiful women walks on the set… she looked amazing and beautiful and started talking to a few of the other extras. Moments later we were told where to stand. Val & I were asked to stand behind the couch along with one other extra. They handed me a bowl of chips along with a beer to hold, Val and the other guy are holding a wine glasses. We are told to chat, laugh and occasionally point at the TV like something is going on. Perfect… would be simple.
The director yelled ACTION everyone would take on their role and moments later CUT. Every time I would just giggle and make conversation with Val and the other guy. We would point at the screen occasionally. We had it down. We repeated it a few times and then were told we can have a seat. They would rearrange the set so they could get a different angle. ACTION… CUT… rearrange it another way to be able to get another angel. ACTION… CUT… I couldn’t believe this is how a movie is made… I have seen it a million times on TV you know the behind the scenes shit, but actually watch them change everything to get the right shot is crazy. We were asked to do it a few more times and then that was it for now. It was lunchtime. We went down stairs had lunch. It was a buffet again and well you know it I had double the servings. Then the bad news arrived, we were done for the day. WHAT… ALREADY? Awww yup that was it.
We went back upstairs a bit sad that we would be transforming back into normal clothes and normal people. Upstairs I managed to ask a man with a VIP PASS hanging around his neck if I could please take a photo. I wanted to know what movie it is we would be in and when it would be coming out. You can see the name of the movie in the photo above I don’t want to write it because I would hate for them to find this post and have me take down the photos. The movie will be released in September. Then before we changed we made sure to get a group shot of all of us. Awww look at us all dressed up. Oh & trust I know the guy in front is cute… during the 3 months in India I honestly think he is like the only one I have thought is cute. I just don’t find India men attractive… oh and I know I have a boyfriend… I can look, but not touch. Ugh sorry for the tangent again.
We were handed our 500Rs ($10) and that was that. It was then back to reality… we were all back in the car heading back to the hotel stuck in traffic, sweating up a storm. After an hour in traffic we were back and well…
Yup Val & I treated our selves to some McDonalds Ice-cream. What? I love ICE CREAM!!!
So yup there you have it this was my big break. This is what it was like to be a BOLLYWOOD extra for a day in Mumbai. All in all it was a pretty cool experience. I’m excited come September to see if our scene makes the cut. I’m glad it was something I really wanted to do in Mumbai, but had no clue it really was this easy to do it. I mean seriously we were asked as soon as we arrived looking like shit; plus also the following days as we walked around Colaba (one of the main neighborhoods of the city) many people approached us to be extras again. We kept saying no because well Mumbai is a huge city with so much to do and see. Also because we had a great experience doing it once already that I would hate to do it again and it not be as amazing. Like renting a houseboat for the backwaters of Kerala this is something I would recommend everyone do if they are ever in Mumbai. It may not be the same experience I had, but like the rest of India it’s an adventure. Plus I mean… you end up getting free food and are paid $10 to just wait & wait & wait. Now though I think I have an interest in acting… maybe that is what I wanna do when I grow up. I think I can do it… I could eat chips and drink beer like a pro. If not I’ll just make it a goal of mine to now be an extra in a HOLLYWOOD movie!
So have you been an extra in a BOLLYWOOD movie? Would you do it if you had the chance to do it? What do you think of my experience? I know right a lot of waiting. So can I say I am a BOLLYWOOD star now?