Diary of a Bollywood extra

Diary of a Bollywood extra

Wake up gingerly at 5.00 after a seriously late night.


Drive to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium through blissfully empty dawn streets.

Drive into wrong gate.

Drive to correct gate.

First visit to stadium, since the Commonwealth Games – remember those ?

Discover that first things first = breakfast.  Aloo parathas and chai at 6 am.

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Watch the sun come up, and watch the extras straggle in.  That 6.00 am deadline was clearly lost in translation for most of the extras, as would most of the day’s instructions.

But I am getting ahead of myself.


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A darzi worked peacefully away all day long in the cool of the gents bathroom (which was labelled as the ladies‘ changing room.)


And yes, the ladies bathroom was labelled as the gents’ changing room.  Obviously.


Some of my fellow linguistically challenged extras.


We were all foreigners playing the role of foreigners.  As one does.

There were trunks galore of accessories.

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And the darzi worked quietly away, not even bothering as everyone took pictures of him.

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“Hair” consisted of lots of water being sprayed, then a touch of gel and a communal comb.

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Then we went and sat out in the sun.

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For hours.


And hours.


And hours.And the sun got hotter.Here we are cheering.


The back of out tireless director’s head.  He is doing directorial stuff.

The day was punctuated by water breaks and a lunch break and a tea break, but as the sun got hotter and hotter and we all got fried to a crisp, energy waned all round…


Suddenly, after 11 long hours, the end of a very hot day was nigh, as the flag was hoisted (in the film, yaar, in the film)


And here’s that fabulous clapper board :


And then it was off with the costume, into the car, drive home and collapse.

I tell you, oh dearest reader, the glamour of the movies ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Ask me.

I know.


  1. Eden

    So kit’s not true what a perfectly educated New Yorker asked me yesterday: so I hear there is this arch in Bombay that is like the Arc de Triumph and if you go down there and stand around the Bollywood directors will hire you to play a westerner in a movie but the parts will be of the villain because that is the role the westerner plays in the movies in India? Obviously.

  2. Jane

    How come you get to wear normal clothes when I had to dress up as a panda for my extra duty! And in a much less attractive setting! (Apart from the gents bathroom – obviously!) x

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