How to become a Bollywood extra

How to become a Bollywood extra

Make the leap from obscure plebe to obscure Bollywood extra by loitering around these Colaba locations favored by talent scouts
Bollywood extra
You might not get to dance, but as a Bollywood extra you'll get to stand around for twelve hours watching a three-minute scene being filmed.

Hang out in Colaba long enough and you might wind up as an extra in a Bollywood movie. Increase your chances of being discovered by prowling talent scouts by spending time in Colaba.

1. Shop and be spotted: Colaba Causeway

This long, bustling street is one of the places talent scouts regularly go to find foreigners to work as Bollywood extras. Sure, it can take a while to get discovered, but you can while away the down time and heighten your public exposure by checking out stalls selling everything from bangles to kohlapuri chappals. At the very least, you might find a deal on some nice fabric.

2. Eat and be spotted: Leopold Cafe

Off the Causeway, Leopold Cafe (corner of Colaba Causeway & Nawroji F Rd; tel 022 22828185) is a classic foreigner hangout. Opened in 1871, this bar/restaurant was first made famous by beer and spicy beef chili. More recently it's gained worldwide fame as a setting in Gregory David Robert's popular novel "Shantaram." Fans of the book flock here daily to have a beer in the bar -- the international crowd in turn attracts Bollywood scouts searching for fresh faces of all nationalities.

3. Sightsee and be spotted: Gateway of India

You'll have to fight through the throngs to be spotted, but the famous monument at the tip of Mumbai island -- a five-minute walk from Leopold Cafe -- is fertile ground for Bollywood talent scouts.

"I go to Colaba to look for all sorts, depending on a movie’s requirements," says Amjad Khan, a talent agent and coordinator who has found many a Bollywood extra for movies such as 2008's "Kismat Konnection" and actor Saif Ali Khan’s current production, "Love Aaj Kal."

Contact Amjad Khan at +91 (0) 98208 38811;

Typical pay for Bollywood extras is only Rs 1,000 for a maximum of 12 hours. Food and transportation are usually provided. Break a leg!