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.
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.
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!