Mumbai and Bollywood
13/2/10: We both slept quiet well and the train trip was running smoothly until we were told that the train was running 3hrs late because people kept pulling the stop chord all through the night to get off. It got boring and we ran of things to do until a very young child started to get bored and peek over in our direction. His mother was more than happy to palm him off to us for entertainment so we kept him busy for a couple of hours playing games and singing songs. Later I also spoke to some Indians from Mumbai and they had been to Varanasi for a holiday. We compared places to go and what to see in the rest India, they later directed us were to buy a train ticket to Colaba some half hour from Dadar train station this save us allot of money instead of getting a taxi. Even standing in the line to the train station we had a young India man that worked at British Telecom that help us buy the ticket and we were able to follow him to Colaba before getting in a taxi to the Indian Guesthouse. Straight away Mumbai was a lot more hospitable and friendly than we had experienced so far travelling through India. We also noticed how clean and pretty Mumbai was and we were quiet surprised by this as we didn’t have the energy for another Kolkata city. Unknowingly our hotel was under renovation with scaffolding erected outside and when the taxi driver pulled up I didn’t believe him that this was our guesthouse and thought he might of phoned a friend to put the sign up in advance so he could get a commission at another hotel. A quick phone call confirmed that it was our guesthouse and the driver was telling the truth. We checked the only available room and shared bathroom and it was perfect. The recently renovated marble bathrooms were beautiful and it was one of the nicest guesthouses we had stayed in since starting the trip. We just had enough time to go for a quick walk past the Taj hotel only 200m away that is now famous for the terrorist siege attack on westerners a couple of years ago. We only had a single room to sleep in and just had enough room to throw a small mattress down the bed and this ended up covering the last floor space available. It was quiet easily the smallest room we had stayed in yet but was also quiet cheap for Mumbai standards. The room only cost 420rs and we would later move into a double room for 470rs.
14/2/10: We both had a great sleep even with the limited room as the mattresses were comfy. We finally crawled out of bed around 8:00 and as soon as we got out of our room we had a gentleman approach us about staring in a Bollywood movie called Aata pata laa pata directed by Rajpal Yadav. It’s a low budget action comedy movie that tells a story about a man that loses his house and all his belongings. We were picked up by the casting director and driven at break neck speed across Mumbai. We even got airborne over a rise on our way to the set, everyone in the back seat hit the roof including Jacinta. Mumbai was massive and I had no idea that it was so huge our driver explained to us that even if you drove for 3hrs you still wouldn’t be out of Mumbai. Mumbai was a mixture of upper upper class and lower lower class being the slums. Even so I still thought that this was a very nice city even with the slums mixed in and I was upset when I left my camera in the boot so I wasn’t able to take any photos. We arrived in Bollywood 40mins later and were surprised by the amount of trees surrounding the hills. We were not sure what was going on or what we had to do so with us fully dressed up in costume and makeup we waited and waited and waited until finally we were ready to do our part. We played the part of international buyers that were interested in purchasing some house holed furniture from the back of the truck. I was happy when I was able to wear my “Where’s Dan” hat and Jacinta couldn’t believe they would even let me wear it but hey this is India and that hat is famous. Once the director yelled action we all acted and discussed the products that were coming out of the back of the truck. This was funny because as they were taking out a toilet we were joking and acting at the same time, saying things like “that is a nice toilet and I wish that was my toilet and that our overseas investors will be very interested in this toilet.” It was hard not to hold back the tears of laughter whilst acting. The main part for us was over within half an hour and this was good as the sun really heated up in full costume. I was super impressed by my performance and hoped it caught the eye of the director so I could get one of those men that follow you around with a umbrella all day. Haha. We were given drinks all day and a meal, I even had a man that would get my seat for me as soon as I needed it. We were also looked after very well by a young Mumbai man. He was funny and spoke great English. He explained what was happening in the movie and we all instantly got along with him. He was especially keen to get on my blog so I have put a photo up for him and his mobile as he would love to meet any woman that are coming to Mumbai and are interested in staring in any Bollywood films. We finished off the day talking to the staff and getting to know the other extras, before long we were on our way back home through the mass of traffic with 500rs each in our back pockets.