There was a post on Molly’s blog about weird jobs. Here’s mine.
My brother and I ended up in Bombay on our round the perimeter of India by train trip, and saw an ad for Extras to play British soldiers in a Bollywood movie “The Mahrajah Ranjit Singh” to be filmed on location in a park. Transport, food was provided – and the pay was 200 Rupees a day (approximately £4 – big money for India).
It wasn’t the money that attracted me, though – anything that might get me the slightest opportunity to hook up with Madhuri Dixit, star of that year’s blockbuster movie Hum Aapke Hain Koun seemed like a good idea to me. So my brother and I signed up and the next day at 8 a.m. a battered minivan came to collect us and a dozen other bleary-eyed backpackers and took us to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in North Bombay.
It quickly became apparent that Madhuri was unlikely to put in an appearance. This was a low-budget, straight-to-video affair – so low-budget that there was only one camera. In the middle of a fight sequence, the director would shout “cut” and all the actors would freeze while the camera was hurriedly set up in a new position to get alternative camera angles.
The motley crew of backpackers were required to represent the entire might of the British army (to be single-handedly vanquished by the eponymous hero). As fifteen men doesn’t really adequately conjure up the Imperial power of the British, we were told to march in a circle and, once we disappeared behind the camera, new props were pushed into our hands, wigs and false moustaches hurriedly applied so that, when we re-emerged in front of the camera we looked different. It was a great day, certainly my weirdest ever job, even though I never got to meet Madhuri. Yet.
I was also English tutor to the Thai Princess’s daughter.