What it was like to be a Bollywood extra for a day in Mumbai!!!

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.

Bollywood Extra

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.

Bollywood Extra

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.

Bollywood Extra

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.

Bollywood Extra

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.

Bollywood Extra

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.

Bollywood Extra Bollywood Extra Bollywood Extra

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.

Bollywood Extra

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.

Bollywood Extra Bollywood Extra

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.

Bollywood Extra

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!!!

Bollywood Extra

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?


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  1. It was an epic day!
    Val recently posted..Thali me banana (lassis) – what I ate in India: month 3

  2. As the above comment says: EPIC DAY Jaime!

    Love the black and white shots too mate!
    Ash recently posted..ANZAC Day, Gallipoli and “Why Are There So Many Aussies and Kiwis in Turkey!?”

  3. This is the best thing ever. I want a DVD copy!
    Sheryll recently posted..How I Try (and sort of succeed) in Managing my Korean Middle School Students

  4. How awesome! Oh and that guy in the black dress shirt to your left…pretty hot! lol
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  5. I was an extra in a Bollywood movie in California and I do remember a lot of…WAITING! It was just a crowd scene, but it was a fun experience and you can see the top of my head in the movie 🙂

    What a memorable day for you!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh wow in Cali… how awesome. Oh the waiting I won’t ever for get that, but still such a crazy experience.

  6. I like the question. “So, have you been an extra in a Bollywood movie?” Let’s see how many people say YES!
    Kent @ No Vacation Required recently posted..Freedom Rich

    • Jaime Davila says:

      LOL Kent, well one person has said yes. So boya…lol I haven’t used that terms since I was like 10. Sorry I don’t know why I just did right now.

  7. I think I’ve told you 3 or more times that this is on my bucket list 🙂 Good to know it’s easy to be asked to be an extra. I don’t mind the waiting 🙂
    Heather recently posted..Walking and eating my way through Brighton

  8. I would like to be an extra in a Bollywood film doing some dancing 😀

    Jaime, have you seen the Indian short film ‘Can’t Curry Love?” I think you’d like it. Congrats again on your first Bollywood movie exposure! Time to conquer Hollywood soon hehe 😀
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..PIYESTA KTV & Restobar invades Davao!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh you should do it… it’s so much fun. No I haven’t I will google it soon. Yes now it’s time to conquer Hollywood.

  9. Nice!!! I would have jumped at the chance of being an extra, forget the $10! 😉 Sounds like a fun way to snoop behind the scenes of a Bollywood movie. You should write another post when the movie comes out, I’d watch it!
    Audrey | That Backpacker recently posted..How To Crash A Parade: The Lotus Lantern Festival

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I know Audrey I would have done it for free, but $10 paid for two nights of accommodation so why not. Yeah it was cool to see how things really work behind the scenes. I hope I make the cut & if I do I will def post about it.

  10. Now that Indian man IS cute! Ooh la la. Your experience sounds pretty cool, I’d love to be all dressed up and put in a movie as an extra! I’ve been on Korean TV three times now, but not as an extra, just getting interviewed, and did some modelling work here – the life of a westerner in Asia, huh?! Haha!

    I’ll be keeping an eye out for that movie when it’s released! Wonder if I’ll get lucky like you and Val did when I make it to Mumbai next year 😀
    Waegook Tom recently posted..The Problem With English Education in Korea

    • Jaime Davila says:

      He is like the ONLY Indian man I found cute… I just didn’t find them attractive at all. Yeah it was a cool experience… and lucky you have done in Korea… not an extra but being on TV is just as cool. One day I will know what it feels like to be a westerner in Asia…lol! Oh & when you get to Mumbai let us know I’ll make sure you get in on something. I have the business card…jaja. If not I’ll just tell you where to walk around at.

  11. What an awesome experience, I would love to do that.
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  12. Even though you were mostly just sitting and waiting, I am SO JEALOUS of you. I was in India for two years and never got to be in Bollywood, although I am kind of semi-seriously considering going back and trying to shmooze with the stars. And possibly get famous. Or at least wear something with sequins.. Well done on getting a foot in the door 🙂

  13. Sounds like fun Jaime! And you guys clean up real nice!
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  14. Akshuna Bakshi says:

    Haha…that’s amazing ! I am from India and work as an Assistant Director in the film industry…To be honest, an Indian would have never taken up an offer like that as the film industry is a risky place to be in and there is a lot of exploitation involved. As a result, they are generally very skeptical about such acting offers 😛 But I am glad that it turned out to be legit !

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh wow well that is good to hear. I am so happy it turned out to be legit as well. I was worried at 1st but once we arrived I was like okay wow… they are serious and this is real. I’d love to do it again sometime.

  15. omg i totally kno dta guy u found cute.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      No way do you really? He really is so damn cute jaja!!!

      • Yeah,he’s a (struggling)actor and i showed him this pic,n boom he wnet ballistic,how did u………..lol…………BTW the movie was stalled coz the director was diagnosed with cancer and thank God,he overcame it and now it will release end of this month,will look out for u and val 🙂

        • Jaime Davila says:

          Wow Mick that is so cool that you know him & showed him this. I hope is able to make a break… he is so cute he really should jaja! Thank you for letting me know about the movie… keep me posted I’d love to see it. I hope the director continues to do well.

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