As we shot Shaitaan Haveli I was oblivious to the fact it would be on Amazon Prime, I had no idea people would see it. Sounds a little crazy as I was probably told in great detail, but I somehow got distracted with the idea of crispy Zombie Pakora. My signature is probably Pipakora on that contract if anyone looks closely enough. A similar thing happened for 21 Sarfarosh, not the Pipakora part, but again I totally underestimated everything, especially after Discovery Jeet went off air shortly after launching. And being very late to the game of Netflix etc, I wasn't entirely sure what the deal was. Not helped by the fact I missed both screenings due to other work - I was literally just clueless.
So it turns out actors sometimes get recognised, and it's a little hard to hide being one of only a handful of Brits in Mumbai. Here's the first few unexpected instances which made me realise my work was actually out there... like actually people were watching.
In a total rush, beyond late, handbag flying behind, I slid in through the door of Chhatrapati Shivaji airport, yes I just had to look up the spelling, and finally I made it on my flight to Chandigarh, somehow still half asleep. I was going for the female lead role in a song shoot, to play the love interest of the singer in his debut song. I was in a bit of a fluster and practically fell over into my seat. Starbucks maintaining perfectly still in hand, there's always time for Starbucks of course. - Thank goodness, an empty seat next to me, I could crash out, stretch out and totally chill out before the shoot.
Shortly into the flight a man came over and asked to sit next to me... Well I wasn't going to deny him a new perspective on the inside of a very normal aeroplane, and besides, i'm English, we never say how we really feel. A forever of awkward silence trickled past yet the growing sensation he was dying to ask me something would definitely not pass. The slight cough, it begins. He asked if I was that girl from that show on discovery, yes I was that girl, my quick thinking wasn't so quick to deny my hard work for the sake of a quiet journey.
But absolutely pleasant as can be, he wanted only a selfie and spoke mostly about his love for 21 Sarfarosh, his wife and his work, I left with a skip and jump in my step, he'd passed immense positive energy to me, and filled me with happiness. It felt so good to be noticed for hard work and hear of hard work. Some people have the ability to brighten someone's day. Thank you for brightening mine.
It was a pretty normal weekend, few auditions and nothing much going on. Heading home I was walking just outside of my apartment gates and a group of maybe 3 or 4 guys shouted across the road to me, 'Hariman ji, mujhe hindi aati hai!' freaked out I scurried through the gates and told the guard to shut them fast! And only then realised what they just said... but it was too late, they'd turned back around and were walking away. If you were one of those guys please accept my sincere apology, my Hindi digestion rate is snail pace, and my fight or flight mode is default flight whilst carrying nutella home from the shop.
Turned out my local supermarket was a small magnet for Shaitaan Haveli fans, I started to notice the odd sensation of missing something; someone looking to you as if they know you, but for sure you don't know them at all. And then comes the cough before the hello. I love that cough.
One of the loveliest times was in Malad at Infiniti Mall, having finished a brutal shopping trip I was just getting some face wash from the body care shop next to the exit. Wondering around asking the assistants which ones didn't contain any whitening chemicals because becoming more pale would turn me invisible to the human eye.
A student girl appeared next to me, seemingly closer than I thought was normal but nonetheless with a sweet but shy smile on her face. A moment went past, was I in her way? Did I do something wrong? Finally she introduced herself so politely I thought I should offer her tea and a biscuit or take a curtsy or something.
The shop assistant returned with yet another whitening scrub... a loud television game show 'UH UH, WRONG!' filled my ears as I tried to kindly say no thank you, I don't like the 'bhoot' look so much, do you have something more natural please. 'OR PERHAPS YOU NEED TO CALL A FRIEND, GO 50/50, OR ASK THE AUDIENCE?'
The sweet girl said she loved 21 Sarfarosh and had been watching me from the glass window before plucking up the courage to come in and say hi. And that was it, in a moment or so she was gone, leaving behind a trail of sweetness and a slight sense of guilt that I should have spoken to her for longer and dealt with which silly facial scrub to buy after!