Fact of the day: Even though Bollywood does not exist in a physical place. The name itself suggests that it’s based in Mumbai (formerly called Bombay) which is the first city were Indian cinema was introduced in. Bollywood is twice as big (in number of movie made per year) than Hollywood!
We arranged to meet the movie casting director at 7:00 am in front of a supermarket. We thought this whole think could be a scam as well, but after researching online we discovered people get a commission for referring white people to the movies to act as extras.
Don’t ask me why, but here is very common to see white people in Bollywood movies, studios are always on the look for tourist that are willing to participate for a day or several weeks. The pay is 2000 rupees for a day ($30), in comparison; they pay 700 rupees for a local to do the same job.
When we arrived at the supermarket there were a bunch of tourists there waiting as well, we were happy to see that as it meant this whole thing was actually legit. There were some people doing this for the 5th day in a row (don’t they prefer to be visiting a nice place in India?).
They picked us up in several nice cars and they drove us to the fort movie staff area. They served us a delicious breakfast and sent us to the costume dressing room.
We were assigned a traditional Indian wedding costume (we were going to be in a scene in an Indian wedding) and there was a guy with the only job of making the turbans for the white people (if you think tying a tie is difficult, wait til you see the skill required to tie a turban).
The movie is called “Lost in India”, it is actually a super expensive Chinese production. The movie is the sequence of “Lost in Thailand” which was the first movie to make more than 1 billion Yuan (it did better than Titanic). We saw the trailer of that movie and we don’t understand how it made more than 5 Yuans, but anyways…
The experience as a whole was interesting but definitely very boring. You are left standing in the sun for hours at the time where they repeat the scene over and over again. We probably will never make it to the screen as there where like a thousand other extras there (mostly Indians). We just spent the time talking and sharing experiences with the other tourists.
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos anymore, so you will have to imagine the weirdness of all this experience.
We then ate another delicious lunch provided by them and they paid us our half a day. We got to eat lunch with the rest of the Indian crew. They had all the Indian extras eat in a separate area with much less appetizing looking food. They had the Chinese crew eat in a separate tent where they served them Chinese food with chopsticks. We wished we were Chinese as a change in cuisine sounded very appealing. They even gave us a ride back to town! We were treated like celebrities!
We decided we had enough of Indian trains and our itinerary was getting a little tricky and required several train transfers and a lot of waiting, we decided to hire a driver for the next 4 days to take us to the last places in Rajasthan. The price was around $50 dollars a day which is extremely expensive for India, but we thought it was worth it as we wanted to enjoy our time instead of wasting it waiting for delayed trains.
After another Chai tea from that heavenly place, we were picked up by our super nice driver to take us to the chill town of Bundi. The drive took around 6 hrs of many near death experiences as the driving here is very similar to what you would see in the movie Mad Max. People driving in the wrong direction in the freeway, speeding, all types of animals crossing the street. Etc… its better to just close your eyes and think of happy times. Sarah took a Dramamine to pass out.
We finally made it to our hotel which was a very nice heritage hotel, but did not have A/C, big mistake with this heat but the A/C rooms cost 3 times more. We ate dinner at their rooftop restaurant which had a very nice view of the fort.
Bonus Pic of The Day: Are you a chocolate lover? you will have a hard time here in India. Chocolate is very hard to find because here, and it needs to be refrigerated. Most shops do not have electricity or the fridge is not cold enough and the chocolate will melt anyways, so better save your money for other snacks!