27 October, 2009

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

24th October, 2009

Hallo, again!

I was able to pop online yesterday, but I hadn't really had time to write anything until now.

Diwali was wonderful—so much fun! First I went to a gurdwara, then we came back to the hotel for a Hindu ceremony, which was so neat to participate in. Then I went driving around Ludhiana city with Lakhwinder to watch the fireworks and people. There's some pictures on Facebook already.

We've been busy filming wedding and sangate scenes for the past week. A sangate is kind of like a bachelorette party, but with all family and friends. This is where we're having the big song and dance number, and we're filming at night...so we've been filming till 3 or 4 in the morning. We were supposed to finish up yesterday (uh, this morning), going till 6 or 7, but we had major camera issues that couldn't be fixed, so we got to pack up a little after three. We're having a new camera sent from Bombay today.

This is good news for me! I'll take any delay I can get. We're supposed to finish filming around the 3rd of 4th, but Andy doesn't get here till the 7th. The day after we wrap, we're all planning on heading into Amritsar, and I'd like Andy to join us for that (though we can also go again separately).

Neena Gupta and Gulshan Grover have already finished their filming, so once the dance sequence is over, we'll be concentrating on the big scenes between me and Dev (Lakhwinder). I need to lose a few pounds first!!! Ugh.

Yeah, I've gained a couple pounds, for sure. It's so easy to do. It's not like I'm eating all the time or anything, but the food is just sooooo delicious. And a lot of it is carbs. It's my own fault for eating so many carbs, but I can't pass up the roti...tsk, tsk. I've only been to the hotel gym once since we've been here—I never know what the schedule is, and I have to make sure my hair gets done before we leave for location...with all the late eating times (something else contributing to the weight gain, I suspect), it's hard to go to the gym in between meals and naps.

Yes, naps. Everyone knows I loves me a good nap! But I'm not the only one—we artists are kings and queens of naps! We have to! Especially on days like today, though I don't have time for a nap before we leave. You get in after 4 AM, in bed by 5, interrupted sleep for 4 hours before you begin the day.

We're supposed to be on set by 5 this evening, and hopefully we'll be able to go till 6 or 7 AM. But like I said, any delay is good for me. ;)

Haven't been able to sleep well these past few days, as I have one of the dancers rooming with me until these scenes are over.

We're in the papers a lot here, but I can't understand what's being said! ;) I'm also finding myself holed up in our dressing room more and more. When I go out, people want pictures and pictures and more pictures. Which is great, and I'm happy to oblige, but sometimes I just want to walk around and see what's happenin'... ya know? But fans decide my fate, they're what keep me going. So of course I'm going to take pics and give autographs. (Can you imagine if I were actually famous?! Wow.)

I'm getting used to being an Indian girl. I don't let the guys touch me. Last night, a couple guys kept squeezing in on me—not touching with their hands, but getting in really close—and I kept scooting forward. And then someone did try to put his arm around me, so I had to step forward. Navneet and Manpreet were very proud of me! I'm learning! This particular guy had alcohol on his breath, anyway, so there was no way I was going to let any familiarities happen. Things are very different over here. They will try to grab and see what they can get away with...and gorian have a reputation of being easy. That's just what the perception is of white girls—they'll hop into bed with anyone. So me being my normal friendly self only perpetuates that misconception, even though to me, an arm around the shoulder means nothing. To them, it does mean something.

I think this is mainly for northerners, as things are more acceptable down south. That's the general impression I'm getting, anyway.

I did get scolded by Manpreet—yet again—on Diwali. When Lakhwinder and I got back, we met up with some of the cast and crew. Those who were not Sikhs had been drinking, which wasn't a big deal to me...and they gave me hugs, which also wasn't a big deal to me. Hugs are normal amongst friends. But Manpreet insists all they were trying to do was feel whatever they could! Ehhh...maybe, maybe not. I didn't notice anything.

The dance scenes have me nervous, but it's been okay so far! My theatrical background has been coming out, though, with a wide open smiling mouth...so I have to be aware of that--”not graceful,” Ish says. ;) The first night I was terrified and nervous and unsure, so I really had to loosen up—where's a glass of wine when you need one?

Last night was great...I felt comfortable and had fun, and that's what it's all about. Well, that and putting your right hand in and out and shaking it all about.

Ack—have to get down to the vans in 10 minutes. Maybe for once we'll be on time! Tee-hee. First, Indian time is very different—I've found I have to add half an hour or so to whatever is told me...and then, there may be one or two divas amongst the cast, though I will neither confirm nor deny that. ;)

25th October, 2009

Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy. We got to location a little after 5, and left after 6.30 this morning. Got a lot done! Our van stopped for breakfast on the side of the road, so I was in bed and asleep by 8.30 (location's about an hour away). Call for lunch at one, and I've had my shower and am doing my hair. We were supposed to be leaving for location at 2 PM, but I don't think that's happening, since it's 2 now...and I think most people are still in bed.

My shots didn't come until after 3.30 this morning, so I had a lot of waiting around to do. Took a small nap around 2.30.

Ummm...28th October? I'm not positive! And I think it's Wednesday!

So I did end up going onto set relatively on time.

This is going to be very stream-of-conscious, as I now can't remember what happened when!

So let's see...Thursday night I was up late writing emails, when things got a bit dizzy. I wasn't sure if it was me and my lack of sleep or if maybe something else was going on. And then it happened again...and I knew I wasn't crazy! I wondered if we'd had an earthquake. And sure enough...two days later I read in the paper that there was a 6.1 earthquake near Kashmir, and we got the tremors.

My very first! I lived in California for over 3 years and never felt anything! So now...I've done tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards. I think I'm satisfied with that. No need for typhoons or anything else. ;)

Elephant spottings are the coolest thing to me...but I'm always in the car. And yesterday we passed by SHEEPIES!!! It was near the house where we're filming, so Manpreet accompanied me to take pics. They had already disappeared...I was more than a little disappointed. Pooh.

Looong hours, late nights...but this afternoon I have off! I'm not filming till the evening, and since it's not being filmed at the house, I don't need to be there in the morning! (The house is 45 minutes away, so no matter what time you're shooting, you have to go with everyone else. I've been able to grab a few naps that way.)

We're starting to get into out serious scenes, now that the stars have left us. Gulshan Grover was wonderful to watch. He was able to silence everyone and still come across as a nice guy. Very professional. I hope to be like that one day, too. But right now, I'm not brave enough. It'll come with time.

Neena Gupta was a pleasure, as well. And Deep (whose last name I've forgotten) was a ton of fun! His parents named him correctly—he has such a pleasing, deep bass voice. :)

Just found out I've become very popular here in Punjab. Wow!!! I don't know what to think about that!

Turns out Andy can get here sooner than the 7th, so I'm excited about that! Yay! Everyone can meet him, and he'll be able to spend some time on the set. And I shall have him be my sport dada—my assistant. But don't tell him that. ;)

Okay, I am exhausted. I crawled out of bed at noon today...that sounds like I slept a lot, but I went to bed late and was up for most of the goings-on between 6 and 7.30 while everyone left for their shoot.

Okay, think I'll grab lunch...nummy, nummy!

Oh, and maybe I haven't gained much weight, after all! Either that, or I already lost it. ;)

16 October, 2009


14th October, 2009

Wowww....my body is sore all over today!

It's been pretty hectic. These three days we've been filming the major action sequences, and we have an action director for that. Each day has begun at 3 AM so we can begin early enough to catch the right light.

Monday we started with the gurpurab festival, and then moved location to another spot where I have a major scene. You'll have to see the film, and then I'll tell you about shooting it. :)

Yesterday was spent back at the gurpurab scenes. Gurpurab is an early morning walk/processional in the Sikh faith. It was fascinating to watch, even just in spurts as they filmed it. They sing about how they will never leave the battlefield, even if they should be cut to pieces. There was some swordplay and other fancy battle-gear-dancing-stuffs. Don't you love my descriptions? I bet you can see it all so clearly.

Anyway...so after the light left, we began my chase sequence. And that is what I'm sore from. I did a lot of running yesterday, in a pair of unsupportive flats. But it's all good. :) I did ALL my own stunts, too! And by that, I mean...tee-hee...okay, so I'm running and running and the pants I'm wearing—wait, back up.

For this sequence I'm in traditional Punjabi clothes, and the pants are very wide. Think MC Hammer. So when I ran, they would start to balloon out in front of the opposite leg. And at one point I took a spectacular fall...flat out, arms and legs straight out like Superman. They liked it so much, they kept it in! I was more embarrassed than anything else, though I did manage to bang up my knee pretty badly. But the other scrapes I had were minimal and you can barely see them today. Anything for the sake of my art, right? I can't wait to see it on screen!

The next three days Lakhwinder and I have off...so we're going to spend a lot of time hanging out and rehearsing. The next scenes we have are a bit more comfortable (with each other, I mean), so we need to get that down pretty well. I'm hoping to do double-duty and go sightseeing and shopping, too. :)

Diwali is in a few days, and I'm super-excited about that! I think a few of us will be heading out to Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple and then the change of guards at the Wagah border. I think. I'm not sure.

It's like Christmas over here, with Diwali sales and lanterns everywhere. I'm so excited I get to celebrate my first Diwali actually in India. And a few days after that is the birth celebrations of the first guru (for Sikhs), so that's a pretty big deal, too. Perfect timing!

Gulshan Grover arrived Monday evening. He had his own hotel to stay in, but he decided to check out and stay here with us. I spent a bit of time with him Monday eve—haven't seen him since then, though! He was incredibly friendly and charming, and down-to-earth. He's huge here—and he's not exactly small in the States, either. He's a very experienced character actor, usually playing the baddie. Here, though, he's not the antagonist, so I can't wait to see what the press says about his role.

(Here's a bit.)

I think some of the extras in the gurpurab have become fans. :) The second day, they came up to me and said “Christa Cannon Dot Com!” And then today one of them showed me my pictures on his phone, taken from the site! It made me laugh--what else can you do? I got a lot of pictures with them, and one insisted on bringing me my breakfast, instead of me doing it myself. It was very sweet, though he filled the plate with a lot of food I couldn't finish!

For the past several days, when I got back to the hotel, I got a shower and brought my iPod out to the lobby to read the paper. (I spend a lot of time in my room, so it's nice to go elsewhere for a change.) Yesterday, I had several people come up for pictures with me—sans make-up and everything. Too funny...it's all so...surreal. I keep using that word, but it IS surreal!

I forgot to mention something about my very first day of shooting.

I'm a worrywart. I have anxiety and I will worry about everything under the sun...constantly. On other shoots, I've worried about the next day at work—getting home in time to get decent sleep, or the things that need to be done...worried about the house and its mess and various other things.

At one point I was sitting down and thought, “I'm not worrying about anything.” Which—yes, okay—worried me a bit. Surely there must be something to worry about. And then I relaxed...completely and totally. There was nothing to worry about. Nothing. This is my work now, and everything else gets taken care of.

I can't tell you the relief I felt, after years of struggling with that. Yes, I still worry about things, but on set, in between takes, all is perfect. Normally when I perform—on stage or screen—everything in my head disappears. Every worry, every piece of baggage is dropped off at the door, but some of it's picked back up again between takes or scenes.

Not here.

16th October, 2009

Okay...Getting Lakhwinder to rehearse is like herding cats! I remember seeing an interview with Jodie Foster about Richard Gere during the filming of Somersby. She said she had such a hard time getting him to rehearse—she'd tell him she'd stand on her head while they did it—anything to rehearse! That's exactly what I feel like!

Anyway...I'll deal with that tomorrow. That always worked for Scarlett O'Hara.

Last night was a lot of fun. Some of the extras from the gurpurab scene came to pick me and Manpreet up, and we rode on motorscooters into the city. Here in Punjab, a small two-seater can easily fit a family of four. I've even seen 4-5 grown men ride one. What a waste to have just two people on the bike! ;) So we rode three and three. I started out American, with my arms wrapped around Manpreet, but was reminded this is Punjab! Hands lightly on shoulders only! If I wanted to be a true Indian woman, I would also have ridden side saddle, but I wasn't brave enough for that. (It was fine with Manpreet, since he's from the south, but I'm trying to be Punjabi, so he's been helping me. I did pretty good last night—we had a car to return home later that night and one of the guys told me to get in, but he was sat in the middle, which would have put me next to him. A no-no. So I looked to Manpreet, who held up his hand to say, “Wait.” Then he got in to sit in the middle. It's all very strange, but I'm getting the hang of it. I can be friendly and touchy with cast and crew, or even southerners...but outsiders—especially here up north--I must keep my distance. Well, from the men and teenage boys, anyway. They'll try to see what they can get away with, I'm told, though I have yet to see that happening. Still, best not to take any chances!)

I was scared to death when we started on the scooters! But it wasn't too bad...it was actually kind of fun, weaving in and out of traffic and cows and people and dogs. I'm amazed we didn't crash into anything. Everybody's packed in like sardines on the roads, and in the alleyways, it's a mess! Remember, there are no rules here.

So our first stop was a gurdwara—I'd brought my own dupatta, this time. :) This particular one separates men and women...I almost embarrassed myself by sitting with the guys. There weren't many women, so it wasn't that obvious (the separation).

After that, we went to one of the guy's houses, where we met his family. And here in India, that means parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents maybe, cousins, neighbours, friends, etc. We stopped in at their...uhhh...mini-gurdwara to give praise before heading up the stairs. I'm not sure what it would be called—Sikhs have a room dedicated for worship in their home, if space is available. You can't leave Punjabi homes without taking something—drink, food, etc. So we had both. It was my first homemade dinner—it was delicious! The same that I've been eating, but at a home. What an experience! The immediate family, Manpreet, and I were sat on their bed eating...everyone else was sitting or standing around watching us. This was around 10.00 at night—you'll remember that we eat late here? I think the others had already eaten at their own homes...they'd really just come to see the new people, get autographs and pictures. (I'm trying to post a video on Facebook. I'm hoping since it's only 25 seconds, it won't take long to upload. Yay—it worked! So I'll post short videos here and there. You can find them on www.facebook.com/oodelally3 If I get a moment, I'll add them on YouTube.)

I really enjoyed it—both the home and the people. If I'd come here to visit on my own, I wouldn't think I'd get a chance like that...to visit with the people and see how things really are. (But maybe—the Punjabi people are so incredibly friendly, they're always inviting me into their home to eat with them and meet their family!) At first, I didn't realize it was a house...it was all so open. No doors, really, and the windows had no screens or glass. In the States, we're all so worried about people breaking in, we can't imagine being so open like that.

It took us a while to leave, as we had to take photographs and sign autographs, and Gurpreet's mom gave me a very pretty sweater as a gift. Then we stopped in to their mini-gurdwara to give praise, and then headed back out to a big gurdwara. (I've worshiped more in the past week than I have in the past few years!) We worshiped there, and we came late enough to where we could see the closing ceremonies, putting the holy books away. I got some video of it...

Just outside, the extras who did the swordplay were waiting to give us a demonstration of dhutka. I think that's how you spell it—it's a form of martial arts. I got a lot of videos of this, too. :) It was a lot of fun to watch...so graceful. Sikhs are “saint soldiers.” I'm learning more about the religion as time goes by...I'll be an expert by the time I get back to the States! I'll probably go through gurdwara withdrawals. ;) I don't think they have many in Denver, if at all.

Diwali is tomorrow—everyone's getting ready for the festive season! I can't wait. :) I don't think we'll be going to Amritsar, but we're going to be doing something! Fun, fun, FUN!

The paper had a great Helen Keller quote the other day, I thought I'd share: “No loss by flood and lightening has deprived man of so many noble lives and impulses as those which his intolerance has destroyed.”

I know this is my acting blog, but while I'm here in India, you'll have to deal with me writing about everything else, too!

But back to business: the language difficulties on set aren't as bad as I had feared they might be. It was tough working with our action director, though...he didn't speak English, and his style is very frenetic. We had little to no rehearsal before doing actual takes, so I was always nervous I was doing the wrong thing. But then we'd do just one take.

That's one difference I'm seeing here...we don't have nearly as many takes as we do in the States.

I'm kind of liking the treatment I'm getting. I hate to admit that—it sounds so snobbish! But I like being taken care of on set. They call me “madam,” which is more than a little odd, and I'm always brought tea and water and made sure I have enough snacks and food. They discovered the first day that I can't be in the sun too long, so they bring me my sunscreen or an umbrella...and I don't have to hold the umbrella. I've offered to—and I've tried to decline sitting when a chair's not available, too...but someone always runs off to get one. It's awesome—I'm secretly enjoying it! But I do have twinges of guilt, too. I don't want to be a diva. I thank them for everything, that may be unusual. But I'd feel even more guilty if I didn't acknowledge and appreciate what they do for me.

When I get back to the States, I may want a personal assistant. I'm just saying. I don't want to do anything myself anymore. ;) Tee-hee! I can pay in goldfish crackers, filtered water, and hugs...any takers?

17th October, 2009

Happy Diwali!!! Ish's parents woke me with sweets, a traditional Diwali gift. They gave me a box of pinni, which is a Punjabi cashew bar.

I've just uploaded a few videos on Facebook—I'm going through and finding the shortest ones I have!

Ummm...I just found out we may be moving to another hotel tonight or tomorrow, in a different city.

Okay, one bad thing here: we're not really kept up to date on what's going on. I have no clue when I'm filming until that morning, and most of the time I don't even know what scene. So I'm going to have to start calling the assistants, and Ish said I can call her as well, anytime day or night.

So who knows about internet access during the next week? I'll do my best. :)

Oh--Lakhwinder and I were able to spend a few hours rehearsing last night--*whew*  :)

Here is a bit from an email back home last week:

"I'm having  a blast here, even if I'm not allowed to wander about alone. ;) I signed at least a hundred autographs last night--it reminded me of my Disney days! Only this time I could actually see everyone. And I didn't have to sign "Pooh." I'm learning to be an Indian girl in my interactions with the public. It's not an easy lesson, as Western sensibilities are much more open and friendly. But my actions and demeanor can be misconstrued, and it's safer for me to keep my distance. I'm told men should not be able to touch me for pics--just putting their hand on my shoulder or something simple like that. It's odd standing there, several inches away from someone--I feel like a statue or something! But the children I can interact with as much as I want. :)

I told Andy yesterday that I've started doing the head wobble...I caught myself several times doing it yesterday!  http://www.google.co.in/search?q=indian+head+wobble&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

I've got a nickname here on set--Billo Rani. "Cat Eyes Queen." Over here, light-coloured eyes are "cat eyes," so I am the Queen of Cat Eyes. There's a song, too, they sometimes sing. It makes me laugh!

Don't forget to click!!!!

Seriously. It really helps. Tell all your friends to click, as well...and don't forget to become a fan on Facebook! At this point, I need to prove not only that I'm a good actor, but that I'm a popular one, as well. It's all very silly, really, but why would anyone cast me if they think people won't like me? If they know I have somewhat of a following, people will start taking notice.  So become a fan!!! And force all your friends to, as well. :)

Oh! And how can I forget?! I'm to find Lakhwinder a soni gorian! (A pretty white girl.) "Gorian" is used as an expression to mean fair lady, so it's not a slur against white girls. :) His only request is that she's not a "dirty" girl. So make sure you shower! No, kidding...what he meant by that is she doesn't...uh..."get around." I don't know who reads this, so I must keep things PG, right? ;)

So, anyone interested?! He's a cutie! His voice is fantastic, and he'll sing to you all the time. He's sweet and funny and charming, and he comes from a very well-known and well-respected family. :) He says he'll teach you Punjabi and you can help him with his English!

Which reminds me...everyone asks if my marriage is a "love marriage." Arranged marriages are still the norm here. I can't say I've met anyone with a love marriage since I've been here. But they grow to love one another, and they're very close. It's sweet to watch, but I have to wonder what it's like those first few months!

Manpreet and Lakhwinder both say they want a love marriage...but we'll see. ;)

Had another dream about Cillian Murphy...and Sarah didn't try to steal him this time. ;) (Thank you, Sarah!) Instead, I had invited him to visit with me and some friends. We didn't know each other, and I knew he wouldn't show. But he did, and he gave me a big hug. And he took his shoes and socks off...and one of my friends from middle school (Janelle or  Michelle! I can't remember!) forced me to steal his socks. I was so embarrassed, especially when he was looking all over the place for the socks.

These dreams make me laugh, that's why I share them. And I promise this is as risque as they get! I'll dream about people I haven't seen in years (or haven't met!), but very rarely will I dream about someone I see all the time. Not even Andy. :( Maybe my subconscious thinks I get enough of them when I'm awake and thinks I should spend time with those I don't get to see anymore.  ???  Dreams are funny.

Okay...I'm kind of just babbling at this point. :) I'll publish this and try to write more later, after we've had Diwali celebrations!

09 October, 2009

This and That. Ti ke? Ti ke.

Sat Sri Akal!

That's hello/goodbye/goodnight, etc. Do you know there isn't a Punjabi phrase for Good Night? Strange. :)

Let's see...today is the 8th. First day of filming was yesterday! And what an experience!

It started at 4 AM...make-up and hair came to my room at 5 and we headed to location at 6. This was for my jogging sequence. Luckily I did all my jogging before it got too hot. Later in the day, just standing there I was melting. Literally. I had to get major touch-ups between every take!

When I woke up yesterday morning, my throat was a little sore. That's always where my colds start, so I thought I'd better knock it out quick. Everything was fine on the set until lunch (around 1.30-ish). I felt it. Ugh. Luckily, I was finished for the day. By the time I got back to the hotel, my cold was in full force! It didn't stop me from shopping at Big Bazaar, but the rest of the day was spent in bed flipping through the TV channels. I was miserable.

I'm doing better now, so I'm hoping later today I'll be up to snuff. I told Ish to strangle Lakhwinder for me!

I'm hungry! It's almost 8 AM, but breakfast, much like dinner, is served late. So I'm sitting here, listening to the horns in traffic, and the whir of my glorious AC. :)

Oh! How could I forget?! I'm sitting down between takes yesterday, sipping some water and getting my make-up touched up, when a huge, gorgeous elephant strolls through the set! I want to ride an elephant and a camel while I'm here, so I was thrilled to see her! Him? He had beautiful stencils all over him, and I got to get my picture taken with him. He wrapped his trunk around me, it was wonderful! One of the pictures shows him grabbing my boob—I didn't even notice it at the time. It made my day, though. (The elephant, not the boob-grab.) How often do elephants just stroll through your life?

I told you in my last blog that I wanted fans. I have some now! Two of them! One gentlemen at the market where we were filming kept coming up and talking to me and introduced me to his mom. He wanted my address, but I gave him my email. He wanted to make sure that I would respond, and he was going to go write me when he got home. I told him I don't have internet access very often, but assured him I'd respond. :)

And later on another gentlemen asked for my autograph! So...outside of theatre productions and my dad...that was my very first autograph-seeker. :)

What else has been going on...? Ah—Lakhwinder, Manpreet, and I headed further into Ludhiana to go to one of the gurudwaras. (They're found about half a mile apart from each other.) Lakhwinder drove his fancy tinted-windows car, and I sat in the back chanting, “Waheguru, waheguru!” It made him laugh. “Waheguru” is sort of like, “Oh, my God.” You use it as a term of reverence or as we use “Oh, my God!” So while freaking out in the back seat, I chanted!

The first gurudwara was packed, and outside in the shoe removal place, both of the boys had to stop for pictures and autographs and talking with fans.

Lakhwinder is a very famous Sufi singer over here, coming from a long line of Sufi singers,  and Manpreet just finished a movie called “Sat Sri Akal,” where he was the first Sikh playing the hero. It's a big deal. Normally they have non-Sikhs playing Sikhs, and it's pretty obvious because of the beards. And even then, they're not really the lead.

We headed across the street to the BIG gurudwara, so I got to worship at both. The second was massive, and very elaborate. It had a guy reciting from the book—I got some video from the outside. And video of Manpreet's fans. The kids loved him—but they weren't interested in Lakhwinder there, so he and I had fun watching all the kids.

After that, we did some shopping for costumes and props, a bit. I found a t-shirt that said “Come, let's learn Punjabi!” and had the alphabet and various other sayings. It made me laugh, so I bought it.

Okay, I'm getting a sinus headache...and I think I'll go in search of food. It might still be too early. Oh, by the way, I'm off today. No filming for me! Good thing...I can take time to get better. But I know soon we'll be filming a big action sequence which will be choreographed and involve a lot of people! Some bad guys are after me and get to me in the middle of a big guru-parade (for lack of a better term). I won't tell you what happens, though. :) You'll just have to see the movie!

Later that day...

Okay, so Ish just called me and told me we have a press conference today. Aack! My eyes are bloodshot with bags underneath, my nose is raw and red...well, of course we have a press conference! ;) I'm a little nervous...okay, no, I'm freaking out a bit inside. This is my first press conference, and most of it will be in another language! I have no idea what to expect, but I'm excited. This is incredible!

Two months ago I was sitting on my sofa wishing something would happen. Now it has! Almost in the blink of an eye, I'm in a new life.

Later that evening:

Wow. That was fun!

They were actually filming a scene in the movie with my picture blown up in the background... Holy cow, was that a little odd! Anyway, while that was going on, I had interviews with a bunch of people from the press. And thousands of pictures! Finally!!! I'll get enough pictures of myself! Tee-hee! Traveling with Andy is difficult, because he doesn't like to take pictures or be in them!

Not that I'll see most of these pictures, mind you.

The first interview was one-on-one, with me sat in a wicker chair. It got quite “heavy,” as Marty McFly would say. The interviewer asked me what I felt about Sikh terrorists in the US, and what I thought about global terrorism and all kinds of things like that. How on Earth does one answer a question like that?! I did my best...and am proud to say I didn't put my foot in my mouth at all—not once! (It's a miracle!) At one point I had to say that I didn't know enough about it to comment.

The other interviews were more light-hearted. * whew * Lots of questions about my character and how I liked India, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary.Though I'll admit I got stuck when asked who my favourite Bollywood actor and actress were! Oops. I couldn't remember the actor's name, so I told them the movies I'd seen him in. And for the women, I said they were all so gorgeous, I couldn't choose just one!

Oh! I saw a paper today...and my picture was in it! I was jogging—and I didn't look half-bad. No pansy-ness. :) The article was in Gurmukhi script, so I have no clue what it said.

I'm staring at the card Mom gave me before I left. I have it propped up on my little table. It made me cry when I opened it, and I like to keep it with me.

“When pride in yourself is the wind for your wings, how high and how far you can soar.

When hope and hard work are the sails of your ship. What remarkable worlds you'll explore...

When dreams are the stars that you never lose sight of in spite of the dark or distress,

In time you'll discover, wherever life takes you, the treasure your heart calls success.”

What is today...? Saturday, the 10th of October!

Yesterday was a lot of fun. Lakhwinder and I had driving scenes to shoot all morning, so we headed out into a village. It was really awesome getting to see more of the countryside. It really is very beautiful, and the Punjabi people are incredibly nice. I was able to use one of the villager's toilets, even. :)

I'm afraid I have not made much headway in keeping India green! Everybody just throws everything on the ground...it's quite shocking. I throw mine away, unless I can't find a bin. Then I keep it with my stuff till I get home.

Last night we shot in a shopping centre, where hundreds of onlookers stood by for hours and hours. :) Kind of funny. We never even got to my scene!

We all came home—it was around 1.30 AM—and they all had dinner! Dinner! At 1.30 in the morning! A few of us sat out in the lobby talking, and then we headed to bed.

Learning more and more Punjabi, but that's not saying much! Do you remember when I said, “ki ddang, kukard?!” was like, “What's up, friend?” Well, I've been saying it all over...and even to the press when they asked me for some Punjabi phrases. I assumed the odd expressions I was getting were because of my American accent, but no. No. I've been saying, “What's up, chicken?!” this whole time!!! I strangled Manpreet, so all is good. :) Ti ke!

We've been in the papers several times already. I always think I look fat, but then, Navneet thinks she does, too. :) Girls. What can you do?

Got my first fan mail!

I should probably answer it. :)

Besides, Andy said my last blog was way too long, and I need to keep them shorter! ;)

I'll work on finding a way to get pics and videos posted...no promises, though!

Having a blast—something new everyday! Cast and crew are wonderful...

Love to you all!

05 October, 2009

A Passage to India


(Okay. So no video right now. It's too big, so I'm going to split it in two sections and then post. :)  )

(Okay. So. Probably no video or pics at all. The download time is incredibly slow. I may have to do it when I get home! Or send Andy home with some of it, but he only gets back a couple weeks before I do. *sigh* We'll see!)

So this is Day...uh...3? Of being in India. :) I've been picking up Hindi and Punjabi words and phrases here and there. I'll be an expert in two months! ;) Que paso in Punjabi means “What will you wear?” Of course, they spell it differently. Just don't ask me how. :)

I am currently sitting in my hotel room in Ludhiana, Punjab...but the first few days were in Mumbai at the YWCA. I explain a lot more in my video blog, so I'm going to try not to repeat myself.

Manpreet just called—we're going to sip some tea and go over our scripts. He's playing Fateh, my college chum. :) Toodles for now!

4th October, 2009

Anyway...So here I am. Still at the Ginger Hotel in Ludhiana. We'll be moving to another hotel this evening, I believe. But I'm really clueless as to what's supposed to be going on. We had breakfast this morning, and other than costume measurements, I've had a lot of time to myself. So I was able to get my first video blog edited (kind of) and saved. Yay!

Slept okay last night. There were power outages ALL the time...and in the early morning, they were about 30 minutes apart. Laptop is fine. :) It's just annoying when it happens, because it pops the switches and fuses, so it's loud. Hopefully our next place won't have as many, but I'm not betting on that. :)

I was watching some Indian TV, but as I flipped through the channels, I came across Yentl! And I think you'll all agree that one just doesn't pass up Yentl, no matter where you are. ;)

It was kind of funny, because on the flight over, I'd decided “A Piece of Sky” was my theme song, and I listened to it several times.

Lakhwinder hasn't arrived yet. When he does, the four of us (me, Manpreet, Lakhwinder, and Pami—who plays Lakhwinder's mother) will start rehearsing. Manpreet actually plays an American-born Sikh Indian, so we've been working a bit on phrases and sayings and such. Completely forgot to work on the American accent last night, though. He doesn't have much in English, but it'll be very obvious that he's not American! So we'll work on that, too.

By the way, do any of you Pennsylvanians know of certain words/phrases/slang that are used in the Philly area? Fateh and Carrie are from that area, so I'd like to incorporate some of it into our speech. No one will notice...but I will. Call me method.

I'm not, really. Well, okay...a bit. :)

Yesterday I woke up just before 3 so we could get to the airport. Our flight was to leave at 6.15, but there was some mix-up with the flights, and we ended up taking the 10.25 flight (which got delayed an hour). Since we were there so early, the three of us checked in our luggage—boy, did that take a while! And then we escaped the airport and took an auto to Juhu Beach. I took several pictures of this...tried to capture what it was like.

The thing that amazed me so much were the amount of people sleeping on the streets on Mumbai. So many, and the beach was no exception.

I had my first coconut water—straight from the coconut—and then they chop it up inside so you can eat the coconut. Didn't taste at all like coconut. It was really good, but a completely different flavour than what I was expecting.

There was a huge bull just standing there, too. So naturally I took a picture. They took one of me, but wouldn't let me touch it. :( So that picture is of me trying to pet it.

I have many rules I must obey, given by Ish:

I am forbidden to wander outside alone.

No fried foods.

No water, except bottled. (And all the guides say this, too. They say to brush your teeth with bottled water, and not to swallow any water from the shower, too...or much like Charlotte, you'll Poughkeepsie in your pants. I brush my teeth with tap water, though.)

No fruit unless peeled.

No fruit drinks.

Basically, no liquids of any kind except bottled water. Or tea, since it's been boiled.

No dairy.

(She wants me to take baby steps so I don't get Delhi Belly. So far, so good.)

No food unless cooked very well.

No petting of the animals. At all. No exceptions!

I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting. :)

Oh, when we landed in Chandigarh, there was a whole slew of photographers. Alas, they were not waiting for us. I have no clue what bigwig flew in, but it wasn't us. THIS time!

Later that evening:

New rule! I must speak very, very slowly when speaking with Lakhwinder. And we have to stay several feet away from each other! He's sick and Ish is worried about my immune system. :) I gave him some Emergen-C, and I'm drinking it, as well.

He seems very nice. He has “people.” We happened upon him in the lobby, so we made introductions. After that, a group of guys asked for pictures and autographs...too funny. :) His first movie was just released a day or two ago...very cool!

Manpreet is getting known, as well! He's getting a Punjabi Film Award for Best Debut. He and I walked to the Big Bazaar (which is like the GB for those who know, or a mini-CostCo) and several people stopped to talk to him. One guy kept coming back...for his cell number, which Manpreet declined to give, but then offered his email address! And then the guy left, and came back for an autograph. It was pretty cool to me, but you could tell he was a bit embarrassed by the whole thing.

Must be surreal. I'll let you know how it feels when it starts happening to me!

After the Big Bazaar, we walked to a small town nearby to visit a gurudwara, which is the Sikh church/temple. That was neat to go to...I even went barefoot and didn't feel that my feet got dirty! I was worried because I didn't have a scarf to cover my head, but Manpreet told me they have some there. And they did.

Tomorrow we move to the other hotel room. I'm really hoping for wifi. Or a cyber cafe near by. Something! I think I;m going to give in and pay for wifi here. It's 1.6 rupees a minute, so...good thing I'm pre-writing this blog! 1 rupee is actually incredibly cheap ($1 = 46 rupees), but I know me. I can spend some time on the internet! So I'll do what I need to do and get off. It's 8.30 AM back home...I'll try calling Andy through Skype, but I can guarantee he's still in bed!

I read through what I wrote above...it's all over the place, haan? (See? I'm trying to incorporate Punjabi into my everyday speech!)

Okay...signing off for now. :)

Love to all!

5 Oct 09

Okay, I'm back. :) No internet yet. But I'm almost positive I will tomorrow. Just need rupees—I still haven't changed my moolah! Someone was going to do it for me (one of the crew), but I need to be there, apparently.

Tell you what: I can get used to this lifestyle. I like being taken care of. I have a driver...my meals are taken care of...there's a gym down the hall which I even used! Not too shabby. :)

We're still at the Ginger hotel. We moved today to the Chevron closer to town, but turned right back around. I guess Ginger gave them a good deal. It's a nicer hotel...I don't care either way—I was just glad to unpack!

Lakhwinder and I were able to spend some time alone together. He thinks his English is bad...but I told him he knows more English than I do Punjabi! (Everyone's very helpful, by the way. I learn a little bit more each day. But I cannot speak in complete sentences! Just a few. Ki daang, kuker! Don't know if that's the right spelling, but it basically means “What's up, amigo?”)

Anyway...Lakhwinder's very nice—quite a cutie, too. :) Right after we wrap, he's heading to the States for the first time. He has a concert tour in 7-8 cities. I'll let you know more in case you're interested in attending! I'd love to go...we'll see. I'll be here till the 22nd, and I don't think he's coming anywhere near Denver. But we'll see!

He's from Amritsar, where the Golden Temple is. I asked him if he was there in 1984, when there was a big riot and terrorists, etc. He was, but was little...he remembers some, but not much.

People have stopped him, too, for pictures and to chat. He's very humble and takes it in stride. I find it very cool! I told Manpreet, “I want fans, too!” He assured me I would, and that he was my fan. He's a lot of fun. I'm glad to have these few days to spend with him, because our characters have known each other for years, and have an almost brother/sister teasing relationship...so we've been developing that—quite easily. He's fun. :) (And single, gals!)

So...I'm going to have to get used to the times Indians eat. Crazy late! Dinner is more 9-11ish. Dude, that's bedtime! You can't go to sleep on a full stomach! So it's 9.30 now and I am determined to have dinner with everyone tonight. I haven't been hungry much—I eat mainly because I think I should. :) But it's all so good, it's not like it's hard to force down!

Let me tell you about driving here. I know I mentioned it in the video, but I can't properly get across how INSANE it is here. Everything and everybody uses the roads...cars, rickshaws, buggies drawn by horses/mules/people, trucks, buses, cows, bikes, mopeds, whatever. And everyone has the right of way. There are no rules, except maybe “Might Makes Right.”

There are lines painted on the road—I saw them! But no one uses them. It could be a two-lane road, but it's turned into 5 or 6. Horns are used all the time. From what I've noticed, sounding the horn can mean: move, go faster, here I am, I'm turning whether you're coming or not, I'm annoyed, there's traffic and I can't do anything but I'm frustrated, you're too slow, make a new lane and get outta my way. Basically, it means just about anything. And some people have musical horns and they just constantly lay on them. It's like a very loud ice cream truck heading down the road. On the backs of trucks, “Blow Horn” is painted.

Those who have driven with me know that I tend to freak out. (I have no depth perception, among other things!) So I'm worse here! The drivers laugh while I'm in the back not-so-quietly freaking out. :) Imagine the absolute worst driver you know. Worse than me. Now picture everyone driving like that, only ten times worse. And faster. And louder. With cows and bikes! Ay-yi-yi.

Ah! Thursday's photo shoot! It went well—they straightened my hair...we took some photos and then they decided they didn't like it straight. (My hair is very fine, so when straightened, it lacks volume.) So we wet it down and got it curly again...and my hair will be curly for the film. :)

The photo shoot was for the cover of Carrie's novel. I explain that in my video... I've seen the finished picture, all airbrushed and everything. I was so jetlagged, but damn, I look good! Airbrushing is fabulous. Wish all my pics could have it! My make-up was a little orange to me, but not to anyone else. I'm picky, though.

I'm not sure if it's also the movie poster...we'll see. That would be so weird—having my big face on a movie poster!

Having a lot of fun, even though I can't go anywhere alone. ;) I'm looking forward to shopping!

Okay, I'm sleepy. Jetlag has me falling asleep pretty early. Which is good, because we'll have a lot of early morning shoots. But...dinner is so late! I think I'm going to give in and eat right now. I don't want to sleep on a full tummy.

Right-i-o. It's 10.00. I'm eating!

6th Oct, 2009

I have internet access!!! I'm going to go ahead and load all this up—yay!

Lakhwinder, Manpreet, and I—maybe a few others—will be going to a bigger gurudwara tonight. I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to ask if I can do the ritual stuff, too. I did a little bit last time—they put some sort of food in your right hand and you eat it. I can't remember what it's called, though.

Can't wait to start filming tomorrow! Even though it's an early call. But that's what film's like. Theatre's the opposite—you stay up all night with everyone and you sleep all day. :)

Ohhhhhhh!!!!!! I have a bone to pick with you, Sarah Ohh! The second night I was here, I had a funny dream. A bunch of us were back in high school, but at the ages we are now. Cillian Murphy went to this school, too, and I had a huuuuge crush on him. (Probably made up cheers a la Bill, too). Anyway, I was always too shy to talk to him. At some point we had lockers near each other, and I'd only manage to smile at him. So...okay, I'm walking through the halls with some friends when I see him with a girl. But I can't see who it is, so I ask my friends. They try and distract me and say, “You don't want to know. Trust me, it's better you don't know.” Turns out, Sarah Ohh has taken my crush for herself! How dare you! I kept thinking she was doing it to help me, by getting to know him and talk about me or something. (High school, right? ;) ) But no. She stole him. It made me cry. I don't think I can forgive you for this, Sarah. :) Cilly is mine.

All righty, then. It's probably a good thing for Andy that I can't even get him in my dreams. ;) I love you, sweetie. (Andy—not Cillian!)


Food = Delicious.

People = Wonderful

Clothing/Linens = GORGEOUS!!! Can't wait to shop. :)

Sat Sri Akal!