Breaking into Bollywood: Auditions, Auditions, Auditions...

Danny Sura , 30 Nov 2011

I have to admit I’m quite enjoying Danny Sura’s adventures (in case you missed it here’s where we started). This is the 2nd installment and I’m sure there’s loads more to come! xoxo

Outtake from "UTV Stars: Live My Life!" promo
Outtake from “UTV Stars: Live My Life!” promo

How I crave a full-English breakfast, now. Aloo paranthas with yoghurt and cutting chai is a good start to the day but… A fried egg with buttered-up toast, hash browns, sausages, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, baked beans ‒ the best, really! Vain as it sounds, you gotta look good at all times, in case an audition crops up – so I had to give up on my beloved artery-clogging brekkie. So, all-important auditions, let’s talk about them in this post, today.

Outtake from Malaysia tourism TVS
Outtake from Malaysia tourism TVS

Here, in Mumbai, aspiring actors have to go through casting co-ordinators first and then the casting directors ‒ to get an audition. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is a casting co-ordinator here, sending you texts (SMSs) like: “Cast: 2 boys very gudlucking model types gud hair… 22 to 24 years.. In either black or any other dark colour shirt or full sleeve. Shoot in Poland btw 8th 12th. Valid passport reqd”. And these co-ordinators take a commission (15-30% of your earnings) for the work they send your way. However, if you get called directly by the casting directors (ones working for the entity that is filming an ad/doing a film shoot), you get to keep all your money. But getting to them is too tricky so you’ve to rely on the co-ordinators.

Outtake from "UTV Stars: Live My Life!" promo
Outtake from “UTV Stars: Live My Life!” promo

Some co-ordinators can bleed you dry. A casting co-ordinator will get a cut of, let’s say, 50,000 rupees from the company to which he is sending out his talent, BUT he’ll say to his talent that the amount offered for the shoot is a measly 10,000 rupees. That is, out of the 50K, 40K goes to him and the poor actor/actress who slaves it for 12 hours in the shoot only gets 10K. Not fair, right? But hey, beggars can’t be choosers, if that’s the way the cookie crumbles here you just have to get on with it. There are some excellent ones too, mind, who, once you build a rapport with them, will look out for you when anything good come their way.

My first couple of auditions were unforgettable. In good ol’ Blighty, the casting agents send you comprehensive e-mail on the audition at hand, like what time to arrive to take my take and what lines to prepare for it. So I was expecting it to be more-or-less organized, like that, but, when I turned up at “Aram Nagar 1” for my first audition, on a boiling June day, I got quite a jolt. There was a big queue to enter the audition room, with pushing and shoving going on to put your name on the queue sheet. I noticed a few brave souls who, on seeing the queue, went for another audition and came back for this one; then some got calls from their friends to put their name down, for them to walk lackadaisically in to the room. All this was an experience!

Outtake from "Reliance Mobile" TVC
Outtake from “Reliance Mobile” TVC
Waiting For Audition
Waiting for audition

It makes you more determined, and even sparks off some healthy competition. When you walk into the room, invariably other’s auditions would be going on, and you watch diligently. If someone does fantastically, you aim to do 110% better; conversely, if you felt someone did not-too-well, you try to avoid their mistakes. Since my arrival in India, I have attended many auditions and still I feel incredibly nervous before giving my first take, especially when there are so many people in the room staring at you and waiting for you to stutter. My first successful audition was for a Reliance Mobile TVS ‒ and the sheer joy of watching myself pop up on telly for the first time puts to bed everything else.

Until next time, god bless… Danny

P.S: Do follow me on Twitter, so click, click, click this way, people –> @DannySura. Cheers!

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