Backpackers Wanted for Bollywood Film
Expenses Paid and 700=1000 Rupees for one days work.
Seeing this advert was pretty much the only encouragement we needed but when we found out that it was from the same production company as Slumdog Millionaire and would be starring Judy Dench and Dev Patel then we were officially sold.
We would be collected from Pushkar and taken to Jaipur where the scene would be shot in the airport. Our organiser, let’s call him Fred, is a smooth operator, always missing whenever you need him and always reassuring in the vaguest possible way if you manage to ask him a question. The hotel we were put up in did not match up to the fanciful expectations that we might actually have a nice place with a jacuzzi, or just a clean bathroom. We would have been delighted with a Travelodge like. India doesn’t have these things of course, and the place we stayed won’t be getting any return business, filthy and unfriendly as it was. Some of the girls managed to get a nice room but where we stayed was pretty much a cess pit. Perhaps luckily we had a 5AM start, picked up by taxis and taken to the production holding area for breakfast and waiting. Two of our party couldn’t fit in the taxis, a recurring theme in Fred’s organisational skills. I don’t think he once managed to order the right number of cars for a pick up. They were told they would be collected in 20 minutes but weren’t until 2 hours later. Meanwhile we were tucking in to a nice spicy Indian breakfast. Some of the guys were dressed up as city gents and the girls had make up done, but for the majority of us we just sat around playing cards until about 11. I know this is standard fare for most film sets and I wouldn’t criticise Fred for that segment, but still, it wasn’t the most exciting part of the day.
Once we were called on set though, we saw an all star cast of British talent. No Dev in this scene but Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imre and others were all present. “Are they remaking Cocoon?” asked one wag.
We had to explain to some of our European and North American cousins who some of these people were. *tut* Then there was a lot more standing about and some walking. We were all very much background but it’s quite likely that some will make the final cut, maybe walking down the stairs, or loitering by the baggage carousel.
After an escalator scene that took about 15 takes where Bill’s main role was to look around the airport while descending he turned to us with arms outstretched and triumphantly announced “Nailed that Motherfucker!”
Lunch was another great spread of Indian goodness, one thing they were doing right was feeding us.
We were finished shooting by 5.30 but unfortunately Fred had got into an argument with one of the girls because she had taken the email address of one of the Indian extras, seemingly fratenising with the locals is not encouraged in movie world.
As a result of this he had a security detail on the girls, who they found much more intimidating than the guys they had been chatting to, and we were all confined to a holding pen in the production area for over an hour while waiting to be taken back to the hotel. We sat in a dark tent and were even accompanied to the toilet for “security” reasons. Yet again Fred had failed to order enough cars but instead of leaving two people behind we all squeezed in for an uncomfortable journey.