There is an Italian belief that if a bird poops on you, you will have good luck. So while in Pondicherry, India we seemed to have an abundance of good fortune, in proportion to the number of times I was pooped on. In the markets, while shopping for fish, and on the sidewalks while ruminating on the beauty of Pondi’s ashram community. On one such occasion, after wiping the poop off my shoulder with a mortified sigh of resignation, we continued with our walk and decided to stop to watch a film production crew.
India is the leading producer of cinema in the world, and each region of the country, with its distinctive languages, cultures and dress, has its own base of film production. Pondicherry, a beautiful sea-side colonial town, is often the backdrop for many Tamil language films, so it was not surprising to run into a crew. What was surprising, was that we were asked to join the production for that afternoon, to film a dance/music sequence. This is India after all!
It is in India that I learned to say “yes” to everything except initial price offers. So of course we agreed to be extras in the scene. Our (my daughters, my sister and myself) brush with Bollywood stardom included:
- Sitting in the director’s chairs’
- Getting our hair made-up; i.e., production assistants were trying to figure out how to put bands in our hair since they had never seen black-African) hair before…lol, and they were in awe of the braids,
- Being served delicious chai tea and bottles of water from production assistants,
- Getting dance instruction from the chief choreographer/director (to which my sister promptly commented, “That is not dancing!”,
- Hanging with the star of the film, whose name I could not pronounce and have now completely forgotten.
So next time you watch a Tamil-language Bollywood film and you see four random black females shaking in a dance sequence….that may be us.