How to get yourself into a Bollywood movie

By: Katie Manning

March 4, 2013

Seeing a Bollywood film in Mumbai should be on the must-do list of any visitor to the city, but what about being in a Bollywood film?


Getting in to a Bollywood film may sound like an arduous task, but actually, there’s nothing to it. First of all, you wont need an agent, a screen test, or even a script. In a nutshell, all you have to do is look like a tourist. So its backpacks, maps and sandals with socks at the ready! Then, once you look, well, like yourself, simply head over to the Coloba area of the city, take a stroll down the Coloba Causeway, the long shopping street where, while covertly auditioning for a role, you can simply enjoy the shopping.

If you haven’t been scouted at this point, stop in at Leopold’s and have a cold beer – Bollywood scouts are known to come here to pick up fresh talent for the movies.

If you still haven’t been tapped on the shoulder, get yourself over to the Gateway of India, on the waterfront in South Mumbai – a great photo opportunity, and rumour has it the scouts come here too”¦

On a Bollywood set

On the set of a Bollywood film © Ianz

When you finally get asked, which you inevitably will, remember to ask for some ID before agreeing and preferably make sure there’s a group of you going along to the set. And if none of the above work, you can always take the proactive approach and sign up! We recommend the Salvation Army Red Shield Hostel in Mumbai.


If 15 minutes of fame is what you’re looking for, however, then it might be wise to rethink this venture – or at least modify your expectations a little”¦

First of all, as an extra in a Bollywood film (you didn’t think we meant a real part did you”¦?) you’re more likely to get about 5 minutes in the fame department. Then once you’re in there’s a lot of waiting around, though usually there will be some free food and even a fee paid at the end of the day. Don’t get your hopes up just yet though – it’ll be around 500 rupees (around £7) for the day.

How to get into a Bollywood movie

Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan at Lal Diwarja © Meanest Indian

So, you give up the better part of a day in your life and for what? Well, there are those all-important 5 minutes, but, more importantly, you’ll be getting an unforgettable experience in Mumbai and a story to regale friends and family with for years to come. Payment enough we think. Just remember to ask the name of the film that you’re in – over 100 Bollywood movies are filmed in Mumbai every year so this is quite important if you ever want to see your face/hand/arm/shoulder on the big screen when the film comes out!


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

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