I’m yet to meet someone who does’t laugh at me when I say that I’ve always wanted to be in a Bollywood movie and it’s with great satisfaction that I now join in with laughter. This was hilarious- I did it!
Now I would love to tell you a tale that involves me stealing the show as a lead actor in a synchronised Bollywood dance scene but if I was going to be slightly more honest I should urge you not to blink when you watch the movie ‘Kyaa Kool Haem Hum 3’ when it comes out later this year- you may miss me if you do.
The beauty of this story though does not lay within the film but rather the people around the film. It’s a great reflection of the helping nature of people and our natural desire to help someone. I was of course the thankful recipient on this occasion.
Days before flying to India I posted on the 100 Things Facebook page as to whether anyone had any tips or contacts on how to get a role in a Bollywood film. My goal was simply to be on camera long enough so that when paused you could clearly see my face (goals do not always have to make you a hero!). With a flurry of social media back and forth, an old friend of mine wrote to me and suggested that I contact a friend of his he knew in the Bollywood industry; Karishma. Without delaying i sent an email to her introducing myself and sharing with them my intention. Now you can imagine how strange a stranger might come across if you were to open an email from them stating that you had a list of 100 Things and that you wants to be in Bollywood, so you can imagine how stoked I was when I actually heard back from both girls immediately.
Five hours after posting my plea on Facebook, I had been offered a two roles in a Bollywood movie, a place to stay and a funny story. I booked my ticket on the spot.
The week after I was in Mumbai, giving a big hug to Karishma, an ex Bollywood starlet who now produces the largest movies in town. I love taking a leap of faith.
‘So I managed to get you a role in the ‘Kyaa Kool Haem Hum 3’ which is lucky really.’ This sounded great, ‘The first two were a huge hit so this will be watched by millions of people and you’ll be in a cafe scene.’
This had come together so easily- I couldn’t believe it.
‘Getting a role in this movie is hard so even though you might not be a main character, this extra role is pretty special’ I believed her and was so thankful.
Things happen fast in Bollywood and at 7am the next morning I turned up to the live set for filming.
‘Sebastian we’re glad you made it. Congratulations on your list- you’re doing a great thing’. I felt humbled that Maneesh, a big time director, had even heard of me. ‘Now let put you in position’
With that he ushered into my position; a table within a cafe located next to the stars of the film who were having a conversation pivotal to the movie. The greeted me too.
‘I’ve got you on this table so that you’l get as close to the camera as possible!’ His excitement to hep was really comforting.
Surrounded by cameras, lights, actors and an array of local Indian extras, I just there smiling at the fact that I was in the middle of a city I had never been too, wedged in the corner of a tiny cafe with with sweat running down my face only moneys away from being filmed in a Bollywood film. It’s funny where you end up when you commit in full to a goal that important to you!
‘So what exactly would you like me to do in the scene?’ I asked nervously as everyone stared at me from behind the lights that were focused on me now.
‘You just sit there and sip on this coffee- easy!’ replied Maneesh as the actors looked at me most likely wondering who the hell I was and why I was speaking. I was confident that I was the right man for job. Drinking from a cup is a skill I’ve had for years now.
With that I was handed said coffee and we were ready to go.
‘Lights, Camera, action!’
With the actors next to me going into their Hindi dialogue with humour, energy and movement, I just sat quietly trying not to look at them. It turns out that trying to look natural as you a drink a coffee is made a little harder when a huge camera points at you and begins to film. Throw in the fact that you can’t look around and you have no one to talk to and it suddenly becomes a test of skill and nerves. I hadn’t felt so awkward in a long time but as the minutes turned into hours and scenes began to build, I think I got the hang of it. I remember feeling quite proud at one moment!
After half a day of shooting various scenes and meeting the entire crew, Mannish took me over to his feedback monitor to look through what had been shot. At first I couldn’t see myself as we scrolled through my scene (perhaps I blinked) but second time around I could clearly see me drinking a coffee like a seasoned actor.
‘That’s you! You did it and can now say that you’re a Bollywood star, Sebastian!’ Mannish was good at exaggerating.
So with that shoot now ‘in the can’ as they say, I can state that I will definitely be in the movie when it is released later this year I will be able to tick off Number 7 on the list- Be a Bollywood Movie.
Perhaps the glitz and glamour was not on show for this item but for me it’s the process that I love. Thanks Karishma for helping a stranger and thanks Brett for connecting us.
Keep an eye out for me at the Bollywood Oscars. Critics are already talking about it!
Number 7- Be in a Bollywood Movie- TICK
Watch this space for the video…