When you go to India you have to forget everything you know about your culture and just let go and enjoy the maddness that is India!
The train to Jaipur was 'estimated' to be 22 hours long but thats in Indian time!It actually took about 38 hours but it was a lot of fun.
Party beside the toilet...
Young boy totally engrossed in Diego's guitar playing
The train stopped for ages in the middle of nowhere the rumour was that the train in front had come off the tracks and a few hours after we had got moving again we passed a train that was on its side and bent in half so it wasnt a rumour! We got to Jaipur pretty late at night so we didnt get a chance to check out the city, we had a quick few hours sleep then up for our first day on the movie!
The film was being shot in Jaipur's Amber fort a huge old fort on top of a mountain. We left before sunrise so i could just about make out people moving about in the dark on the way. Wow Jaipur did not look like it was in 2009! It looked more like in the medieval times it was very strange! People washing themselves on the street, no motorised vehicles, no coats or jackets just groups of people with blankets over their head keep warm....
mornin going to work
The locals hanging around the fort hoping to catch a glimpse of the big star, men and women always seperate.
We got to the fort and had a nice breakfast of orange sweet stuff, fried chapatti's and curry type stuff and of course super sweet chai. The film is something about the indians and the english back in the 20's the guys were dressed in English army suits and the girls as English ladies however they didnt have enough costumes to go around the girls so half of the girls including me were put into sari's! At first i thought it was so cool to get to dress in a sari but the indian mens reaction to the western girl in a fancy sari was unbelieveable. They couldnt handle it one bit. They turned into animals.
It started when the costume guy was fixing a tear in the sari he reached up the dress and grabbed my ass cheek! I wasnt expecting that at all so i just burst out laughing and asked could he do that please without touching my ass. But everywhere the sari dressed girls went we got groped, grabbed, fondled, pinched, pushed against the walls it was not good. The problem was that in this fort to get to and from where the filming was, there was only one long, dark very narrow staircase which was the perfect place for the frustrated indian men to get some woman.
A few of the girls punched guys in the face after getting their ass grabbed i had a sharp hair pin which i jabbed into the arm or leg as soon as i saw it coming my way! And they had absolutely no security worth talking about so there were hundreds if not thousands of indian boys running after us all the time! Funny now...well more of a learning experience but at the time i was getting very very sick of Indian men and unfortunately i felt a bit disheartened about Indian people for a while after.
Laughing about the silly indian men....and clearly as pale as the day i left ireland!
he's so cute... i want one...
We were positioned on a stage where the king and queen sit and it overlooked a square. It was a Gladiator-type film where the main star came in on his horse to battle this other guy. The indian men went wild for the main guy - Salman Kan. And i mean wild! Screaming like i screamed at a Boyzone concert back in the day! After someone rode about on the horse and practiced the scene 20 times the main guy, after being helped up on the horse by 2 men, would come bounding out on the horse in his gay petticoat and his long hair flowing. He looks a bit like a short Sylvester Stallone i think
Ok it wasnt the hardest job we've ever done..
Every morning was a 5.30 am start...completely worth it to see the sunrise from the fort
Daytime from the fort
The crowds there were crazy. At the end of every day filming the crowds burst onto the set to run after the main actors car, luckily we were up on the balcony so it felt safe and just so surreal to see this going on. The police would chase the guys with big bamboo sticks and the young men would run, trip and climb over each other to get away, but it seemed more like fun to them than anything malicious as soon as the police raised the stick they ran and never fought back. I think it was just the sheer number of people that was the problem.
This picture (below) was taken just two minutes before the wall on the right beside the police ladies fell down on top of a mother and her 3 or 4 kids. It was when the main star came onto the set the indians were going mental to see him and the wall just couldn't support the people. After the wall fell TOTAL CHAOS. Hundreds of people trying to run away from it, more running towards it to see what happened, i saw a young girl being carried out with a badly injured, bloody and battered face and a young boy who had been pulled out but not too badly injured, praying, bawling crying and looking up to the sky. People ran all over the balcony part where previously we'd just looked down on the madness from. We moved to a quieter spot but couldn't help being surrounded by young Indian men talking pictures, wanting to chat or just generally staring. I suppose its a bit like being a celebrity......the filming started about 15 minutes after the injured people had been taken from where the wall fell down.
Due to this accident we had 2 free days off. They had to find a new place to shoot as the fort was a protected archeological site and breaking the wall was not good! It was good to get a break from the constant Indian men all around!
Wow i loved Jaipur. It it mostly painted a peach or 'pink city' as its called. It was the same chaos as had been in Chennai my 1st stop in India however now i loved it and felt very comfortable with it, and i wondered how i was ever scared of this when i arrived first. Well its probably because not one thing here is the same as at home, walking down the street is an obsticle course of traffic, people, little shops, cows and on the main streets the pollution is heavy in your lungs and the noise from car horns is deafening but its all good! One guy here from London said wait until i get home the quiet and calmness is bigger culture shock than being in India! The first day off we spent walking about, doing a bit of shopping, just generally chilling out after a hard few late nights and days of 5am starts.
same as at home.....
As the Indians were always taking pictures of us i found it funny talking pics of just normal unsuspecting Indians, the odd few who wouldn't approach you for money or the like...this chappy was probably just heading home from work
One of the gates into the old city
the main roundabout
Painting of Shiva
Public phone i think!
The pot shop
We had this crazy room service guy in this hotel we were being put up in during the filming. It started one of our first nights I was just relaxing in the room with Lydie the girl i was sharing with when there was a knock on the door. The guy said 'you want towel'? 'paper toilet'? we said no thanks, then he walked into the room and closed the door behind him and stood there with his hands together like praying and kept saying 'Namaste'...the indian for 'i salute you'. He said he spoke english, hindi and french so i asked him how do you say thanks in Hindi he just smiled and bowed and said yes thank you! It was a bit awkward to be honest! Him standing there saying Namaste and the two of us sitting on the bed wondering mmmm what does he want! Eventually Lydie opened the door and he shook my hand ferociously as he left! I actually had to pull my hand very hard to get it out of his!
This turned into a daily occurance. He would sit on the steps and everytime he saw us he's run up to the room wondering if we wanted towel or paper toilet then he would come into the room, close the door and stand there saying namaste, not to forget the crazy handshake! Everyone was getting similiar visits we started just opening the door a little so he couldnt come into the room.
It was getting a bit much but very very funny. One night we made phone calls to people who had gone to sleep, through the phones in the room, this was about 3am, and imitating Namaste guys voice we asked ..'you want towel?' .Most people we like 'man its 3am no i don't need a towel!!!' One girl was like 'no i don't need a towel but could i have a chai?' How funny...like room service would ring you up at that hour just to check if you need anything....although 'im sure if this guy had access to a phone....
Namaste guy.....you want towel? paper toilet?? He had a soft spot for Friend!!!!!!!! ...Gerry on the left!
Our 2nd day off we decided to bring a few guitars, chess, poi etc and chill out at the park. It was a little hard to chill out as all the people in the park came to look at the bunch of westeners! They formed a circle around us, ordered their popcorn and just stared!
wow we are so interesting!
totally surrounding us!
just chillin out smoking a cigarette while standing right beside me staring at us
then the women came to sweep the leaves that were beside us!!!
Then it was time to leave the park! I had been pretty sick with my stomach the last 4 or 5 days and i was just starting to feel better and have an appetite so i decided to go to Mcdonalds....yes i know why oh why!! Anyway it was comforting to my sick stomach to eat good ole western food however instead of a Bigmac (as they dont eat beef) they have the Chicken Maharasha Mac....which didn't do it for me one bit! Anyway that's my annual trip to Mcdonalds over and here is Julien, one of the guys from Goa working on the movie, taking the cycle rickshaw driver for a spin!
julien on the bike...funny funny!
Back to the shoot new location!
Courtney buying fruit....sometimes the attention we get is a bit uncalled for!
So part 2 of the shoot was in the middle of nowhere beside a lake. Its just as well my stomach was better as the toilet facilities were not amazing!
yup that's the better of the toilets!
(see below!) Before this we had to go in the surrounding area which is just fields and as there are loads of young Indian men around who followed you everywhere there was no choice than to have an audience when you went. Once i had a guy doing star jumps right in front of me as i was going to the toilet, another guy taking picture on his phone...not my classiest moment and not the easiest either in the big dress from the 1920's!
However the place was unspoilt and it felt great to have so much space compared to the fort or even Jaipur city in general where it was always crowded. It was a bit chilly in the mornings and i found that quite nice.
going to the set in the morning
After breakfast, the usual orange sweet stuff, fried chapatti and curry...which we all wouldnt have minded a change from, we had the heavy makeup slapped on, the hair done and the costumes. By now all the girls were in English lady dresses i was sure as this was in the middle of nowhere there wouldn't be the same crowds as the fort but no.....
they found us!
Everyday there was twice the amount of young Indian men to the last, on the 3rd day even a few vendors had set up stalls! They don't miss a thing!
camel from the set
I got talking to a guy who works in bollywood and his job is just to search for locations for movies! He travels the world doing this...nice job!
Corey, the guy who organsied us to come work on the shoot dressed up on the last day, it was his birthday....it really suited him!
We finished it off with a night out for Coreys birthday.
Despite the fascination with us westeners all the time i really loved Jaipur the city has a lot of character. I'm getting used to being stared at all the time but i think it was being a female, westerner in a skimpy sari that tipped the boat over! I feel well able to handle any male Indian man situation after this few days.
When i was walking through a market after filming i saw these young Indian boys coming and i could tell the wandering hand was coming too so the best tactic is to look them in the eye then stare at the offending hand thats coming towards you and once they know you know what they're going to do they pull back! With the young boys at the market when i stared at their hands they burst out laughing that they'd been caught and ran on and i laughed too. so like everything in India you have to see the light-hearted side of things and when you do you wont want to leave!