“Extra” in Bollywood
Yes. I love Bollywood. As a purchaser & product developer for Harry’s Horse, I work a lot with Indians. And because of this, I had the chance to travel to India twice. I have a lot of (special) friends from India. So it is inevitable that I got to see some Bollywood-movies before. The first movie I saw was “Yamla Pagla Deewana”. At that time, I was completely blown off my feet, by the energy, the colors, the fun, the concept. Looking back, I think it is a pretty shitty movie. But, I’ve seen SO many nice Bollywood movies in the mean time, like Jab we Met, Queen, Happy New Year and my favourite, Fan. The last two movies starred Shah Rukh Khan, the “King of Bollywood”. Bollywood is big in India, not so big in the Netherlands. So when I go to the cinemas to watch a Bollywood movie, I almost feel like an attraction myself. I’m sure many spectators asks their selves if I’m lost/ picked the wrong movie by accident. But I simply love it, it is a brilliant way to escape from day-to-day bizz (but people please, eat your curries at home and don’t smuggle them into cinemas. Hell, the smell^^).
On a day in September, 10 september 2016 to be exact. my friend Piyush sent me following screenshot:
“As! Shah Rukh Khan is in the Netherlands!”. So, while still lying in my bed, we forged a plan to find out where he was and what he was doing.
Soon, we learned that he was in Amsterdam to shoot a movie with another famous star Anushka Sharma. HOW COOL! The Internet was exploding with rumor and gossips about their possible location.
Suddenly I saw a message from a friend on Facebook (hi, Mike!). That he was going to be an “Extra” in a “kind of Bollywoodmovie”. I congratulated him, and expressed how COOL it was, for me, being a Bollywood-fan. He immediately called me “don’t you want to be an extra as well for this movie”. Of course, YES! Many phone calls later, I arranged that my friend Piyush could be Extra as well. Side note, this all happened to be on Saturday night. The shooting was on Sunday!
What to wear, what to wear… We got a complete reader about this. No prints, not too bright, “travel-outfit”, bring suitcase and what not (hey, it was some time ago). And no make-up. Help, haha!
As the shooting being on airport Schiphol, I took the train (and my stuff – of course also make-up) in the morning, meeting up with Piyush in the airport a little later. Together, we walked to the “secret spot”, Hilton Hotel Schiphol, where the stars stayed and where the dressing room was etc.
After arrival, we had to sign a contract and we got a briefing about the movie itself (working title: The Ring). After this, we had to dress up in our outfits. And the stage manager came to check/ correct. My outfit was approved right away! So there we went, off to the set!
Soon after, the shooting started. I think everybody told us 100 times: IT IS NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE PICTURES/ CLIPS. Apparently, they are very anxious in Bollywood about this. We almost did not dare to take out our phones. The guys “guarding” us, really were checking this. Oh, my! Too bad!
When selected by the stage manager, you were told what to do, where to stand, how to walk etc., it was all HUGE! The entire airport was being re-arranged, big areas were marked off to keep all the fans away. And all the signs had to be re-mastered.
I knew Bollywood had fans in the Netherlands, but WOW, so many fans? The security had a lot of troubles keeping the fans away from the set. They were screaming, shouting, even crying, waving with t-shirts with Shah Rukh Khan on it. A couple of times, the director had to stop the shooting and ask, no, BEG the fans to be quiet. So that I could make my walk for example :-). VERY cool.
We had lunch together with the complete crew, so also with Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka. VERY cool. There was a real Indian catering, it was TASTY! But, sitting outside, we almost got deaf because of all the yelling fans all the time. Gosh……….
The last scenes of that day were shot outside. At a sudden moment, I think Shah Rukh Khan had enough (it was already late), since he unexpectedly said goodbye and went off.
And as Shah Rukh Khan raced away, Piyush was talking to his manager.
Shah Rukh Khan’s manager really was a cool guy! He said he would arrange something, and that we had to wait in the lobby from the Hilton hotel for a meet-up. REALLY COOL! So, while everybody was going home, Piyush, another guy and myself went back to the Hilton, after collecting our earned money^^.
It was a GREAT experience as you will understand. I was totally excited when I saw the film posters showing up everywhere.
I had great expectations of the movie itself! Not about my own appearance, as (of course) I did something stupid. The scene where I had to walk the big distance was first filmed from the back. Later, they moved the set around and I had to walk from the other side. But, this all took SO LONG, moving the cameras around, so I re-arranged my hair in the mean time (and made a bun). Only later I realized this HAHAHA.
Anyway, first the bad news. The movie was totally shitty! Almost as worse at Yamla Pagla Deewana. Even I had more connection with Shah Rukh Khan than Anushka had in the movie^^. The good news is that I made it (couple of times) to the final cut. WHOOHOO, so cool to see yourself on the big screen. And later on Netflix, comfortable in your home (below).
When I saw the director posting following on Facebook, sharp as I am, couldn’t resist to react.
After this, my complete Facebook exploded HAHAHA! I believe I got about 1,000 new friends requests and also many, many personal messages^^. But no message from Mr. Ali himself, surprisingly ;-).