I am back in India! I arrived last Friday night and instantly had a lot of memories coming back to my mind. The taxi ride from the airport to the dodgy hostel, where I stayed the first nights, was impressive once again. The diversity in everything is exciting. Not just speaking of poverty and slums, but especially of colors. It seems like almost everything that can be found in India, can be found in Mumbai, too. It is a thrilling city, second to none in India. Ugly, but also beautiful at the same time. The city could easily rival Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in terms of beauty. If only there were not that many people littering the entire city. I absolutely enjoyed my days in Mumbai and even made it to Bollywood.
Chowpatty Beach – it could be so beautiful
I went to Chowpatty beach one of the first days. It is easily reachable by metro. The metro ride itself is an experience. It is unbelievably packed and very hard to get in and out. When I left the metro, I was shocked by seeing the city beach Chowpatty. If it just were clean it could be as pretty as Copa Cabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, it is so dirty that swimming or even sunbathing is not recommendable. There are many people at the beach, but the majority did not really seem to bother about littering it. It made me really sad. It is a pity, because I think Mumbai has much more potential for tourism.
One Night as Bollywood Actor
The second day I wandered around Mumbai’s crowded streets when a Bollywood scout asked me if I liked to be in a Bollywood movie. At first, I was a bit skeptical, because it seemed somehow weird to get approached by a stranger like that. However, I had heard of similar stories and after I saw a group of around 15 foreigners, I went with them. It was a very unique experience! The shooting went on from 7 pm in the evening to 5 am in the morning. It was exhausting, but great fun. We got a small impression of the Bollywood movie industry. In certain scenes we had to wear absolutely ridiculous clothes. For some people it took a lot of convincing to wear those.
Karzzzz – The Start of my Career as an Actor
The movie I will be in is called “Karzzzz“. I hope it will be released before I will go back. During the night we have met the two main female actresses, but not the male main actor. The female villain is actually a very nice person. She is called Urmila Matondkar and even came to talk to us quickly. I did not like the main actress, Shweta Kumar. She appeared to be very arrogant and behaved like she already was a big star. I just checked – she does not even have a Wikipedia article. [Update] Unfortunately “Karzzzz” is the worst Bollywood movie, which I have seen. I found it on YouTube without subtitles.
Try to spot Me
If you have very good eyes you can spot me in the following scenes:
- Between 33:10 and 36:40 I can be seen in the dancing crowd, wearing a brown polo shirt, very briefly at the front. In reality, the crowd consisted of only 15 people.
- Between 1:56:20 and 2:04:00 I can be seen in a ridiculous turquoise suit on the right side of the audience. I am rather in the back and very hard to see. Again, this audience was much smaller in reality.
“My” movie was a flop in Indian cinemas. The soundtrack had some success, though. Nevertheless, it was a great experience for me and like a dream come true.
One Night in the Taj Mahal Palace
Back from Bollywood, I decided to fulfill myself another dream. Thus, I booked myself into the Taj Mahal Palace – one of the best hotels in Asia. I spent one night (well almost 24 h) in it and loved it. The room, the view, the service, everything was great!!! When I booked the room, I told them that it was always a dream of me to spend one night in this hotel and they spontaneously upgraded me to a room with sea view. Superb!!! In the evening I had cocktails at the impressive bar with two French friends, which I met at the Bollywood shoot. At last I had breakfast in my room in the morning. [Update] Only a couple of weeks later the Taj Mahal Palace suffered from one of the worst terror attacks in Indian history. A real shame!
Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai
Once again, I was lucky with the choice of my timing. Whilst there were bad bombings in Delhi this weekend, Mumbai celebrated a peaceful Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. Ganesh is the god with the elephant head. The entire Sunday people walked through the streets dancing around statues of Ganesh. In the evening they brought the statues to the sea and “gave” them to the sea. It was a very nice experience to be in the crowd. Apart from the Ganesh Charturthi Festival I visited a huge crematory. The Hindi do not bury dead bodies like Christians do, but burn them. It was interesting to see that. Even though it smelled very strong.
Sightseeing in Mumbai
Every day in Mumbai I used the remaining time for some sightseeing in Colaba, the tourist area in the south of Mumbai. I went several times to the famous Leopold café, which has a very nice atmosphere. I went with a typical Mumbai taxi from Colaba to the Christchurch station. I walked around the city seeing the Mumbai Big Ben and the spectacular Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Mumbai Central Train Station or Victoria Terminus). Chhatrapati Shivaji is the most extraordinary train station, I have seen so far. From the outside it looks more like a castle than a train station. Sadly, my time in Mumbai is already over. I love this extremely crowded city.