Chak De Andrea!

Follow the exciting and not so exciting adventures of Andrea in Mumbai...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A big sorry for not having updated my blog for so long, but work has been so busy that it's been very difficult! Now... on to my first experience of fame in the movies...

And so after being in Mumbai for five months already (having been volunteering with an NGO here) I decided that it was finally time for me to become a movie extra. My first experience was with an American film called The Other End of the Line, which has Jesse Metcalfe and Shreya and that was the most boring experience I’ve ever had… numerous rehearsals… numerous retakes… not enough places to sit and very pushy people.

But when the same coordinator asked me if I would like to be an extra in an Abhishek Bachchan film, I accepted gladly, having no idea what film it even was or what my role would be. Having been told that I had to get to Film City by 7am, I took an auto from the nearest station (Goregaon) and then tried to find the set. Film City is huge, and my auto got seriously lost, not helped by the fact that I didn’t know the film’s name. Eventually after we had stopped at the wrong location due to a mix up, I saw another guy in an auto asking for directions to the same set and decided to travel up with him to reach there, so after asking, I climbed into the auto with him and we set off!

Turns out he was one of the supporting actors, his name is Gaurav and he’s worked in tv serials until now (Remix, and some Balaji ones), and it was his first movie. So despite me being a junior artist (difference of status between us!) he was very friendly and happy to tell me about the film and his role in it.

And so Drona is a mythological/fantasy film wherein Abhishek is the guardian of some magic water (although he doesn’t know that he’s the guardian), and of course there are bad guys trying to get it etc.So our auto got part of the way there… and got stuck getting up a hill. It simply wouldn’t go. So we were forced to get out and walk. Then no other auto would take us. Finally one of the assistant stylists for the film spotted us and we climbed into her auto…. Then that got stuck on the next hill.

And so we all finally arrived at the set by walking up the last hill….

Once I got there it was to find that almost none of the other junior artists had arrived yet, and so I was given my wardrobe, which consisted of a sweater, and a red poncho with a hood, and a picture of Kay Kay on the back (we were his fans…). Basically we were doing some pick up scenes from what they had shot in the Czech Republic so I think we had to look cold for it.

The rest of the extras eventually arrived, consisting of British, Australian, East European, Russian, Uzbek, Irani, Afghani and probably many more nationalities.So wearing our ponchos we went to the shooting location where we were supposed to be watching a magic performance conducted by Kay Kay’s character (who is the villain), it was far more fun than the last shoot I went to as we had some actions to perform such as running forward, shaking some barricades etc.

Unfortunately Kay Kay wasn’t there, Priyanka wasn’t either. However Abhishek was, and we had a scene with him at one point. His hair is still longish and he was dressed as if for the cold. I didn’t get an opportunity to get a picture with him, but took a couple of him on the sly. As soon as I get them uploaded I’ll post some links!

I met his stand in as well, a guy called Ramesh who is equally as tall, and had a similar hair cut! Apparently he also stands in for Arjun Rampal, and has done some tv series in the past.We packed up fairly early, by 3pm, which left me with the impression that Indian films are far quicker and more organised than American productions...All in all, a fun experience.

Drona looks like it’s going to be a paisa vasool type film, don’t expect anything deep and meaningful but it should be lots of fun!

Being a film extra can be boring, tiring and underpaid. Most extras receive only 400 rupees per day, however me being smart, I receive 800. I'm not quite sure how I managed this, maybe it's because my coordinator is a friend of a friend or maybe it's because I speak hindi...

Anyways, I have learnt that there is always an alternate career open for me in the movies!


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