Things I Did In Mumbai

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August 13th 2014
Published: September 15th 2014
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Things I Did In Mumbai

(Please scroll down to see all the photos)

Go see a Bollywood movie: Check

Smoke out with The Baba: Check

Star in a Bollywood Movie: Check

It was nice seeing you Mumbai, but now I'm moving on. Or maybe a little more explanation is in order, here it goes.

1) Go See a Bollywood Movie

So I'm hanging out in Mumbai with 2 girls, Belgium and Dutch on a Saturday and they are looking to shop a bit so then we stop in an upscale restaurant to eat. They have an expansive menu, American food, Chinese food, Indian food, Lebanese food, and one other kind I can't recall right now. Trinh, the Dutch girl brings up a fact from Kitchen Nightmares that a place that has everything probably can't do anything good. I decide on something from the Lebanese side since it is only available 2 days a week and that day is one of them.

The restaurant is upscale and very nice. The best part is the whole restaurant is air conditioned. Some restaurants may have an air conditioned section while the rest of the restaurant has just fans. You kinda out of place sitting in the A/C section not to mention that the A/C is off when no one is sitting in there so it is actually hotter since it is an enclosed area and probably won't cool off until the end of your meal anyway.

This restaurant is very western with nice tables and chairs, bar stools and bar spread among 2 levels. And to top it off there are a bunch of big screen TVs playing a bunch of 70's, 80's, and 90's music videos. Like the Eagles "Hotel California", Guns & Roses, Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, Nirvana, etc.

To make this restaurant even better someone points out to me that they have hamburgers. I took a glance at the American page on the menu but figured don't get your hopes up it is just someones idea of what an American menu is. So I take another look and hello, they actually have beef hamburgers along with a veggie burger. There is no cheese option, it just comes with English mustard, lettuce, and tomato.

Of course after I order it the waiter comes back to the table to make sure I wanted a beef hamburger and to make sure I know this one has meat. It was also interesting to note that they had a POS system in place. That is a Point of Sales, or computer system that the waiter inputs the order and it goes directly to the kitchen to the cooks.

All of the food was surprisingly good. Someone ordered the healthy chicken which turned out to be a chicken breast covered in a gravy. Tasty, yes, but healthy? I'm not so sure. As for the hamburger, well it was a regular bun with a little bit of meat in it, but it was beef so I was happy.

Walking back outside into the heat, humidity, noise, and dirtiness that is Mumbai, we had found an oasis within the city.

Later that day we decided to go see a Bollywood movie. The best part about that choice was it was air conditioned. Inside the theater there are stands that sell ice cream, cupcakes, chocolates, ice cream bars, nachos (with some weird cheese in a cup), and popcorn. Note to Americans, Europeans seem to prefer sugar with their popcorn over salted buttered popcorn, go figure. I opted for some seasoned buttered corn in a cup.

Then there was the movie. I suggested seeing the movie "It's Entertainment." I had seen the posters all over Mumbai showing a guy with a dog, but the dog is sitting in a chair and the guy on the ground, or they were both holding the same bone in their mouth side by side. Anyways all the posters and billboards were in English, which was key to me. And all other Bollywood movies seem to be some sort of rom-com. And the only thing worst than a rom-com is a rom-com with singing and dancing, the key to any Bollywood film.

Now if you only see one Bollywood movie this year...

Well I wouldn't recommenced "It's Entertainment" necessarily. The movie starts and it is in Hindi. Now you can kind of follow along just by watching but you miss the jokes and nuances of the film. So I completely lost interest. The basic premise of the film is this guy inherits a dog and estate but they go together so he can't get rid of the dog, or something like that. Now maybe the movie is dubbed in English in some showings, but clearly all of the billboards and posters I saw were in English.

I use the time in the cool confines of the A/C theater to take a nap, as does Trinh leaving Thali the only one of us watching. I occasionally wake up when people are laughing or just because. I see singing & dancing and a lot of ball kicking and I don't mean a soccer ball. For some reason trauma to a man's testicles seems like high comedy, especially in this movie. Hell even the dog got in on the act kicking his new owner a few times.

It also turns out that every Bollywood film is a rom-com as this guy was try to win over some girl as well. In addition to all the singing & dancing and rom-com aspects as well another trait all Bollywood film posses is the guy does get the girl, but with one caveat: He never gets to kiss her. Yes a kiss is considered taboo in India society. I remember a few years back Richard Gere caused quite a ruckus when promoting a film in India he kissed his co-star at some press event. Truly an international incident whose repercussions are still being felt to this day.

Anyways the movie cuts off and I awake to see "Intermission" up on the screen. After an hour and a half there is an intermission?? Some people go to the restrooms (this theater did have one of the nicest restrooms I have seen to date in India), or to get refreshments. Better still, an usher comes up to your seat to take your order. After 25 minutes the movie starts again and I commence to napping again. After an hour Thali wakes those of us who are sleeping and says "let's go." After over 3 hours the movie didn't seem to be winding down so we leave. As far as I know that movie is still playing after its 27th intermission.

2) Smoke Out With The Baba

On Mondays there is a tour to a temple north of Mumbai arranged by the owner of the Anjali Homestay hostel, Raj. Raj is very helpful. He will arrange tours in Mumbai, give you recommendations on where to go in India, change money for you, help book train or bus tickets to your next destination, and much more. He does all this at no charge to you, but just to help. There a very few, maybe 4, hostels in Mumbai and Anjali is the top rated. It is also rates very high of any hostel on and that is due in large part to Raj and his staff, mainly Rajesh. Pretty much the only complaint I have heard is the location. It is very near the airport which is great, as most people start and/or end their trip in Mumbai. However it is not in the tourist area. It is only about a 40 minute auto rickshaw and train ride to the tourist area. Backpackers are a strange bunch. Some live with the Lonely Planet as their bible. They only go to restaurants and hotels mentioned in the book. They don't realize that it is only a guide, and should not be used to plan your entire trip. The same people also complain about the tourist trail and want to get off of it but don't realize that means sacrificing comfort and can be boring since the tourist go to areas that are made to be entertaining to them. But it does seem as time goes on that fewer people are relying solely on the Lonely Planet for their trip.

Hotels are cheap to come by in Mumbai which is why there aren't many hostels. The last time I was in Mumbai I stayed in a hotel. It wasn't until I returned home that I realized that since I was traveling solo I didn't meet anyone along the way to travel with or at least talk to about where to go and tell them what I had done and it was a totally different experience. This time I picked a hostel so I could interact with more people and it has paid off.

So on Mondays a taxi comes to the hostel at 7AM to take you to the temple. It is about an hour and a half ride each way and cost 1000IR (Indian Rupees). Raj recommends getting 4 people to go so it only costs 250IR each (about $4 @ 61 IR to the dollar). We actually had 5 people squeeze into the cab and away we went.

Once we arrive we meet up with Raj. He takes us to a hut where someone greets us, blesses us and puts an orange dot on the center of your forehead. Or at least that's what he did to everyone else. To me he painted my whole forehead with the orange paint. Everyone in my group was like what the... I suggested that being the only American among the group I had to atone for the bad perceived by others that America was responsible for. Only later did I find out from Raj it was to actually signify that I was a holy man. Me of all people, go figure. We then had tea and set off for the hike up the mountain to the temple.

Hiking up the trail it was rocky and muddy since it was monsoon season. Trying not to slip and fall was a job unto its self. Then you cross a stream with mid shin high water. More hiking in the mud and rocks till you get to a stream that is knee
A Ceremony. A Ceremony. A Ceremony.

It appears as if some religious ceremony is taking place.
high. Then we get in a couple of auto rickshaws to ride the rest of the way up. Auto rickshaws aren't really made for 4 wheeling, probably because they only have 3 wheels. It seems very unstable and I am just hoping we don't flip over. We do make it to the top in one piece.

Once at the temple we observe the service which last about 20 minutes. Raj then gives us a tour of the temple, then further up the mountain to another temple, then over to yet another temple. At the side of this temple they offer us a place to sit and then give us all a glass of buttermilk and some kind of fried dough along with fried chilies. Everyone takes a sip of the buttermilk and doesn't like it. What can I say buttermilk is buttermilk. I know of no one who drinks it nowadays but I do remember my mother's aunts and my grandmother drinking it when we used to visit them. I tell the group that while buttermilk isn't that great as a drink, it is great for cooking and try to explain to them buttermilk biscuits with county
A Ceremony. A Ceremony. A Ceremony.

It appears as if some religious ceremony is taking place.
gravy, or buttermilk pancakes with warm maple syrup, etc, but they never had it so they didn't seem to believe me. I fear that when any of them visit the U.S. and they are offered buttermilk biscuits or buttermilk pancakes they will unfortunately turn it down.

The fried dough was OK, however if you take a bite of the chili and then the fried dough it was good. Apart from me, this group consisting of 2 Aussies and 2 Europeans, don't eat spicy food. I also manage to drink my full glass of buttermilk. I don't want to waste anything and being a cook, want to try as many new things as possible.

I also want to venture a guess that with this mention of buttermilk, I set the record on of posts with the most mentions of buttermilk, ever. I could be wrong, but let's assume I am right about this being the most anyone has blogged about buttermilk not on a cooking blog. See I did it again, another reference to buttermilk. This record of "buttermilk" references will stand for years! Now back to the story.

Raj then
A Ceremony. A Ceremony. A Ceremony.

It appears as if some religious ceremony is taking place.
leads us to another hut where he shows us the remains of the last Baba are kept. He explains that The Baba is like the Pope, and the last one died 2 years ago at the ago of 108. We then walk to another hut behind this one to meet the current Baba.

The Baba has dreadlocks. All (or most?) Babas have dreadlocks. So now it becomes more clear why I have my forehead painted instead of just a dot. There is The Baba, or the head one, then there are other Babas which are like Cardinals. So we take seats to the left of The Baba as his guests. Raj knows him personally. Other people of his faith sit in front of him. The Baba has one of his assistants make tea and offers us tea. Now when The Baba offers you tea and you are a guest in him home, you take the tea, even if just out of respect for him. Then The Baba offers us a sandwich which is basically bread, butter, and sugar. When The Baba offers you a sandwich, you take the sandwich. See where I am heading??

A Ceremony. A Ceremony. A Ceremony.

It appears as if some religious ceremony is taking place.

Then The Baba pulls out some Ganja. He hands it to us to inspect it. I'm no expert, far from it, so I'm like OK and had it to the next person to take a look. Then the assistant to The Baba lights the pipe for him and The Baba smokes. The Baba then offers us the pipe. Now who am I to refuse The Baba? That would be rude of me right?? I drank his tea, ate his food, and now I am to refuse his hospitality? We could have an international crisis on our hands with worldwide ramifications if I were to offend The Baba. So with that in mind I took the pipe. It had been explained before that since this was The Baba, and it is part of his religion this was totally legal.

It was also explained to us how to smoke from the pipe. There is a paper filter on the end of the pipe, but your lips are never to touch the pipe. You hold it between your thumb and forefinger and your lips touch only your hand. So out of the 5 of us in the group, 4 of us did it. On the second time around only 2 or 3 of us did it. The 3rd time around it turns out I was the only one who did it. So now that the riffraff is no longer participating The Baba brings out the good stuff. I could feel a little buzz going from the previous hits I had, but when I took a hit from this new stuff, WOW! A couple more hits and I'm feeling good.

After we left The Baba we went to go see another Baba,who is like some kind of Cardinal. He also gave us tea. And I think partly because of my dreads, and partly because I was American I get the seat of honor right next to this Baba. So when he brings out the peace pipe even though I am already baked, I have to take a hit, just to be sure I don't offend him, you understand, right? No one else takes a hit and I also refuse any further hits.

Now a word (or 2) about drug use. Those that know me know I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs. However I am in favor of legalizing marijuana outright, and not just for medical use. I do see where it will bring on its own problems and as a society we will have to learn to deal with it. But I do see using a little herb as not as dangerous as drinking alcohol. You don't smoke herb and want to fight or become belligerent like some people do with alcohol. Some people may become paranoid, but most of the time it makes you mellow. Hey I say let's get the Palestinians and Israelis in a room with some edibles and some good ganja and then let them hash out a peace agreement.

Before June of this year I had only been high once, in May of 2006 at a coffee shop in Amsterdam. It was a good experience but not one I repeated even a year later when I was once again in Amsterdam (I returned to photograph the tulips outside of Amsterdam). Everyone thinks that because of the dreads I must be big into smoking weed. I can now count on one hand the number of times I have been high. I am a mellow person by nature so I don't really need something to mellow me out. The main reason I never smoked was because of my job. As a cook I could always cut or burn myself at work badly enough to have to go to the clinic and then I could be subject to a drug test. THC can stay in your system for 30 days so I always felt that it would be my luck that I would cut myself 2 or 3 weeks after smoking something and even though I wan't under the influence of it I would be fired just for it showing up in my system. So to me it just wasn't worth the risk. After I quit my job I decided to give it a try. Smoking not that good for me, but the edibles that may be my thing. Of course the joke to the friend that I did it with was why do you need to give me something that will make you hungry and sleepy?? I have no problems with that already.

So while I am not actively seeking to get high, if the stars aligned just right and it was the right time
Inside the temple of The Baba. Inside the temple of The Baba. Inside the temple of The Baba.

Only The Baba and his personnel guest smoked.
and place and person, I may do it again, I won't rule it out. But it isn't really my thing.

Anyways back to the story at hand, I am now worried about how the hell I'm going to get off this mountain. I've got to negotiate my way down while I'm high through 2 streams and down rocks and mud and I don't have my waterproof case for my iPhone. I could just see disaster coming. But I successfully made my way down the mountain. At the end of the now almost 2 hour drive back due to traffic I was no longer feeling the effects. BTW the 1000 IR we were supposed to pay? We had to pay an extra 200 IR since we had an extra person.

P.S. Turns out there are almost a thousand different Hindu sects. Kinda like Christians are made up of Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodist, etc. So The Baba we met was head of just one sect.

P.P.S. With all due respect to The Baba, and all other Babas, while they had dreadlocks theirs were in no way as luxurious and long as mine. For the record.

3) Star in a Bollywood Movie

Since Raj owns a hostel in Mumbai full of tourist Bollywood comes a knocking sometimes looking for extras for their films. Hollywood makes about 200 commercial releases a year while Bollywood is said to make 900-1200. FYI

A really cool Aussie (but aren't all Aussies cool and great to be around? I haven't met a bad one yet. If you are ever around backpackers and a group is having a lot of fun their probably Aussies), named Jaden got a chance to be an extra. Raj said he told them he had an American with dreadlocks but they took a pass.

Jaden's shoot was supposed to be from 8AM to 8PM but he ended back by 5PM. He said the food was good, otherwise it was kinda boring which I expected, but he did get to be in a scene with the star of the movie which takes place on a cruise ship. He is walking down a hall talking to 2 other guys when the star walks past. The star of the movie is Anil Kapoor, known for being the host of the game show in "Slumdog Millionaire." I forget the name of the movie but it is to come out in July 2015.

Anyways Trinh, the Dutch girl got approached by a guy to be an extra in a Bollywood film. The shoot is supposed to be from 7PM to 5AM. She shows the card to Raj who has never heard of the production company. He wants to know if they are allowing any guys along or do they just want girls, a sure sign it is not on the up and up. Raj calls up the guy and gets info from him and verifies with other contacts he has in the business that this is a real production and OKs it.

Trinh is texting with the guy and tells him she has a few people who would be interested, a couple of Aussies, an English lad, and me. Basically the same group that went to the temple. The others are OK-ed but Trinh told the guy I was mixed, black and white and the guy says he can't use me if I look too "Indian."

Now being black in
Assisting Baba with his pipe. Assisting Baba with his pipe. Assisting Baba with his pipe.

I think the assistant is either a fan of James Brown...
America I have experienced minor and subtle forms of racism, very minor compared to what others have been subject to in the past. But here I am literally halfway around the world and I still have to put up with it, I mean, really??

India, like most countries has a race problem. Darker skinned people are discriminated against. It happens everywhere. In Colombia, Mexico, etc, you see the blonde haired, blue eyed people on TV and in the movies and hardly any dark skinned people. Even in my beloved Brazil it happens. Brazil, like America has every color of the spectrum. From the most fair skinned blondes to the darkest people of African ancestry. But Brazil has the best mix of people in between. And in Brazil it isn't considered a race problem, it is defined as a class problem. But make no mistake about it, the fairer skins make up most of the upper class, while the darker skinned people represent the majority of the lower class.

India has a caste (class) system and race problem. A lot of women use skin creams with bleaching agents in them to make their skin lighter.
Assisting Baba with his pipe. Assisting Baba with his pipe. Assisting Baba with his pipe.

or the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Last year the woman who won Miss America, Nina Davuluri, was of Indian descent, her parents immigrated from India and she was born in the U.S. but she was the second to win of Asian descent. The reaction in India was not "Hey look at her, she won Miss America," but "How could she have won? She isn't pretty, she is too dark." I mean she just won the title of Miss America, a beauty pageant. Of course there was a backlash in America over her winning as well.

See how I can go off on a tangent? Focus Dave, focus.

Anyways, to make a long story short (too late huh), Trinh sends the guy a photo of me and I make the cut.

They are sending a bus to pick us up at 5 but we end up getting picked up about 7. The filming takes place at an old closed county club. When we arrive I see 3 mobile homes which I take to be the stars trailers. I am right as one of them is labeled "Director."

Now I have never actually worked on a Hollywood set, but I have been around a few living in Vegas. You come across film crews and TV crews all the time shooting in Vegas. I know people who work on production crews. As a matter of fact I had a brush with a movie being filmed when I got out of the military and returned to Vegas. The movie "Showgirls" was in pre-production. It was supposed to be a big movie since it was written by Joe Eszterhas who wrote "Basic Instinct" and directed by Paul Verhoeven who directed "Robocop" and "Basic Instinct." It was about a girl who comes to Vegas and ends up a star in a Vegas show. The Vegas show in the movie, titled "Goddess" was supposed to become an actual Broadway show. My interest in "Showgirls" besides it being about Las Vegas and parts of it being filmed in the showroom at the casino where I worked was Esterhouse and Verhooven wanted Prince to do the entire soundtrack. But Prince was in a fight with his record label at the time, Warner Brothers, and they wouldn't let him do it so he ended up only having 2 songs in the film, "319" and "Ripopgodazippa." Maybe it worked out for the best for Prince since it tanked at the box office and his name wasn't attached to it. "Showgirls" is now considered a cult classic and one of the "best" worst movies. They even have midnight showings sometimes. Robert Davi has some of the best lines in the film, but the lines are NSFW.

And now back to our story. The ballroom of the country club is set up as a casino so I'm feeling at home. Men and women are separated and we are ushered to wardrobe. Some guys are told you are a dealer, some are asked if they know how to deal cards. I'm from Vegas so I know how to deal cards. I'm no expert but I know I'm better than some of these guys who have never set foot in a casino. As the numbers dwindle I sense a pattern. On our bus was were 5 Koreans, and 8 Nigerians 2 of which are girls, along with a number of Europeans. none of the Nigerians have been assigned anything and only 2 Koreans have. Most of the Europeans have been chosen for roles. Finally one Nigerian is selected as a dealer. Everyone else left is told to go get something to eat and return later.

I go eat and it is nothing remarkable. I had a couple of boiled eggs and a samosa. The food was supposed to be one of the highlights of being an extra, but oh well. We return to wardrobe and are told to pick out suits to wear. I can't find a shirt that fits me, I run into this problem sometimes because I have broad shoulders. Same problem I have whenever I get fitted for a tuxedo or suit, whenever I get a jacket that fits I have to have the sleeves shortened. I am told to just wear the shirt I have since it is a button up with a collar. Now to find a sports coat that fits. Surprisingly I do find one and shoes, so it is off to the set.

Now those that know me know that I hate to have my photo taken. The only thing worse than having my photo taken is having a video taken, so maybe I didn't think this thing all the way through. Still I just wanted to see how the sausage is made, so to speak. My job now is to really stay in the background, out of sight.

I manage to get a seat at a dinner table on the casino floor. It's a deuce, which in restaurant terms means it is a 2 top, or 2 seater. I chose that for two reasons, 1) it was a chair, and 2) it was situated near an A/C tubing vent. This country club is no longer open so there is no electricity or running water. In the bathrooms there are two 55 gallon drums of water to wash your hands with, an improvement over most restrooms I have been to in India. For us guys at least we have 2 banks of urinals to use in addition to a few stalls. Remember there is no running water so I can only imagine the situation over in the ladies room, not being able to flush.

No electricity means that outside of the county club there are a few generators and A/C units running to supply power and cool air so there is a ton of wiring and 2 feet circumference tubing all around and you have to take care not to trip over it. Actually it isn't 2 feet in circumference because they use the metric system so whatever the equivalent of that is. And you can't trip over it because here there are no shyster lawyers to call to get you a bucket of money, you'll just get laughed at.

So I have a seat at a table which is a good thing since It. Takes. Forever. To. Shoot. These. Scenes.

The group that I came with are active in the background, walking through, etc. Alex, an English guy who I think I finally convinced that soccer really does suck (I'm on a mission), was in the background of every scene. However Andrew, an Aussie, was chosen to be a dealer. Not just any dealer but the roulette dealer. The stars of the movie come into the casino and then the leading man plays a few hands of roulette dealt by Andrew. This is supposed to be a key scene in the movie so Andrew will for sure make the cut in the movie. Not sure how much, it may just
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

I had to show them how to deal cards.
be his hands, but he will be in it. Spoiler Alert! The leading man makes a bet of $50,000 and wins, then a bet of $100,000 and wins, then a bet of $250,000 and loses. At one point the leading lady shrieks, I'm not sure if it is when he wins the money or loses the money.

Now I'm sitting at a table and there are maybe 6-7 tables with anywhere from 2-8 seats per tale. Also at the table is a glass of wine and a glass of, oh I don't know vodka, maybe a gin & tonic?? We are told not to drink it and at first I think to let us know that it isn't real. But as it turns out they later pick up the glasses to use at the blackjack tables and at the bar before bringing them back to the dinner tables.

There is a group of Eastern European girls who are "dancers" in Mumbai. Now I have photographed professional dancers like ballet dancers, Radio City Rockettes, Las Vegas Showgirls and they have a certain grace about them that these girls didn't have. I have also photographed strippers
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

Where I sat for 4 hours .
and I don't think there are strip clubs in India, so maybe there girls fall somewhere in between?

Anyways these Eastern Euro girls keep to themselves talking in their language then they start rearranging the chairs so they can all sit together. Finally someone from the crew tells them to put the chairs back at the table and to sit at the tables. One of the girls is told to sit at my table and for the next 3 1/2- 4 hours not 2 words are said between us. Mind you she was talking to her friends, just not to me. But that is how the Eastern Euros roll, they keep to themselves.

They have couples starting at certain points walking every 2-5 seconds in the background of the scenes. Trinh and Alex pair up to walk through some of the scenes. They have a game where they say outlandish stuff to each other while walking through the scenes. But they can't react to it because they are on camera. I think I could come up with some good stuff, but hearing some of the stuff that was said I may have had a hard time maintaining my composure.

We break for lunch, or whatever you call a meal @ 2AM. Actually after working the graveyard shift for 15 years we do call it lunch. In the military it was called mid-rats, or midnight rations. The food is nothing to write home about (but if you have a blog maybe it is worth mentioning??), the one thing I remember is some pasta with Alfredo sauce,but not very good sauce. There are actually 2 lines to get food, one for the extras and one for the crew. The crew had Indian food and some of the Eastern Euro girls try to get in that line but are shooed away.

We return to the set and I am sitting at my table when at one point they run out of guys to walk through so someone from the crew tell me to walk with this girl. Now I'm sitting there just chillin' and I have my shoes off. I'm scrambling trying to get my shoes on but don't make it in time.

I finally get corralled into walking through a scene, and we do about 5-6 takes. After I finish I find some other place to hang out to avoid doing anything again. Someone comes up to the group and says we are needed to walk though over there. I get up with the rest of the group but then I make a break for it and move to another corner with a different group. About 10 minutes later, apparently the same person comes up to this group I am now with and tells us we are needed somewhere and to move over there. Then they look at me and say, "Hey didn't I just tell you to move over with that other group?" Oh really? I didn't understand.

Now at this time we are only supposed to have less than 2 hours left to shoot. And I'm thinking at this point if you haven't used me, why should I start now? But somehow, someone decided that they have to use the guy with the dreadlocks, I'm in demand. So I do a few takes walking through a scene. Then I'm sitting on the grand staircase waiting when the leading lady walks down the stairs to the set. She is very pretty, but hey
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

Trinh, leading the glamorous life, in costume on the set of Bang Bang!
I guess that is part of why you get to be a leading lady. I am asked to take a seat on a chaise lounge at the bar, with 3 other girls. Then the leading man and lady walk up and they each have their own mirror being held by someone and they are checking their hair and make up, and the next thing you know I am in a scene with the leading actors. I am only about 4 feet away but I can't really hear what they are saying. I guess that is what the boom mics are for. But I do make out that they are speaking Hindi, or just definitely not English. We do only 2-3 takes and we are asked to step back while they shoot from different angles.

I end up sitting right next to the director and his monitor. The director has headphones on so he can hear what is being said, but I still can't hear and I am only 6 feet away. I can see in the monitor that this is a close up shot of the leads. I then look at the actors and Hrithik Roshan, who
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

After 6 1/2 hours of shooting.
is the leading man had either a room key card or credit card in his hand and I notice something about him. Trinh is sitting 2 seats over and I am trying to get her attention to look without drawing attention to what I am talking about. She doesn't notice it but Hrithik Roshan has two thumbs on his right hand. I imagine it would be akin to being on the set of Top Gun and saying out loud "Hey look at Tom Cruise, he is only 5 feet tall." It would probably get you immediately escorted off the set so I have to wait to tell her. Now I had seen people take or try to take photos on the set. Especially if you were caught taking photos of the leading actors your camera was taken, you were kicked off the set, or both. I had managed to take a few photos on set. The few times I had a line of sight of the leading actor is was always from behind and far away so there was no chance to take an inconspicuous photos without raising my camera up. Now I am sitting in the best place to
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

That's A/C running through those tubes.
take an on set photograph, and it would have made for a great photos. Seeing the director looking at his monitor wearing his headphones with the leads in the background, and then a photograph of the leads with the director and his monitor in the foreground. Unfortunately there was just no way to pull it off. I especially wanted to get a shot of Hrithik Roshan's hand. I have been in India not even 2 weeks and this was the 4th person that I noticed with 2 thumbs on one hand. India has almost 4 times the population of the U.S. but I have never seen it in the States. Is this a numbers thing??

Well we were supposed to be done shooting at 5AM but that came and went and we were still shooting. They started telling people to go change into their street clothes, and when I was headed to wardrobe I was told to wait I was to be in another scene. Andrew who was the roulette dealer, was told he could change but after he changed into his own clothes someone said they wanted close up shots of him so to get back
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

That's A/C running through those tubes.
into costume. I guess he was tired because he was not too happy. After he got back into his dealer uniform he sat around waiting to shoot some more but it was all for nothing, they didn't shoot any more with him. We finally finished up at about 7:30AM.

So the name of the film we shot was "BANG BANG!" Starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif. It is a remake of "Knight and Day" starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. I guess we shot some of the last scenes because it is scheduled to be released on October 2nd. And the trailer is already out.

The first teaser of the film was released on July 23rd 2014 and became the most watched teaser/trailer (in the first 24 hours) of Bollywood. The trailer got 2.33 million views in 24 hours - a new record.

So for almost 12 hours of time starring in a Bollywood Blockbuster = Priceless.

Actual pay for being an extra on a Bollywood Film =
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

Andrew and Melissa. Andrew will probably be in the film, or at least his hands will. He was the roulette dealer and he even had lines to read.
500 Indian Rupees (or $8.19 at the time of the exchange rate). Incidentally Andrew, who was the roulette dealer got paid the same as the rest of the group. And he even had lines. I'm not even sure if they got his name to give him a credit in the film.

Well that was some of the highlights of 2 weeks in Mumbai. A city of heat, humidity, and almost 24 million people. And the rain in the first 8-10 days. Now I'm off to the state of Rajasthan, more on that later.

Additional photos below
Photos: 38, Displayed: 38


On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

Hrithik Roshan, star of the film. Squint and maybe you can see the second thumb on his right hand.
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

Hrithik Roshan, star of the film.
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang! On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!
On the Bollywood set of Bang Bang!

Hrithik Roshan, star of the film, just before he punched out a PA on the set. Oh, I kid :-P

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