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3 easy ways to become a Bollywood extra

Updated on April 2, 2012

Have you always had a thing for the glittering world of Bollywood's dream factory and would love to take a look behind the scenes? Do you like getting all dresed-up and don't mind spending a full day at the shoot? Then you should consider becoming an extra in a Bollywood movie and gather hands-on experience of the life at a movie set. If you are a foreigner travelling in India and have at least a week to spend in Bombay, you have good chances of being casted as an extra in a Bollywood Strip, if you follow either of my three suggested ways.

1. Be at the right place at the right time

Most Bollywood movies sooner or later will have a big party scene or some sort of public show-down, which requires loads of extras. For not-needed-to-be-understood reasons white faces are often fancied in the movies and therefore many a times casting-scouts roam through the most touristic areas of town to hook up with some tourists who have enough time and are willing to spend a full day and mostly half a night at a movie set for almost no pay. The best places to be "discovered" are Leopold's Bar (close to Regal theatre in Colaba) and the Gateway of India. Generally, if you move along the tourist trail in Colaba and are not wearing some hippie-rags chances are high of being approached in 1-3 days. Make sure the person asking you seems trust-worthy and can show you an ID or is casting a big group of foreigners at the same time. Pay is usually 500Rs and food and water usually will be available at the set for you.

2. Go to an expat party and find an agent

If you have a bit more time in town, the easiest way is to attend a handful of expat parties. These parties happen 1-3 times per week and are usually advertised a bit under the desk. The best thing is to freely ask around, connect with Couchsurfers or join the Mumbai groups on meetup.com. Often foreign model casting agents are visiting these parties to make out new faces in town. The great thing is that once you are an extra through an agent your pay will be 4000-5000Rs and you might end up doing more interesting stuff at the same time.

3. Find an agent online beforehand

If you google it, you will see that there are loads of modelling-agencies online. The competition here is higher though, as many foreigners who aspire to become full-time models are signing up, too. Nevertheless, if you are into modelling and have a bit of time to create some profiles for yourself, it might as well be worth a try, as the Indian movie and fashion industry is constantly looking for new faces.


Note: It doesn't matter if you are male/female or how old you are! Especially a bit older people are often searched for desperately as not so many of them would be willing to join the fun.

Read more about my personal experiences of being a Bollywood Extra in Bombay!

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