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AUDITIONS!! You think we have it easy?!

KARISHMA NAINA  (click here to know more about this blogger)

 

The trials and tribulations of auditioning in Mumbai are no less farcical than a Bollywood comedy. Let’s just set the mood for our daily escapades for the common reader. Allow me to introduce you to a world that makes little to no sense and garners little to no practicality for the betterment of its objective. That objective being the placement of disconcerting artists in just as disconcerting roles across the media spectrum of television commercials, ‘Bollywood’ movies, print campaigns and fashion shows. 
 
The day in a life of an audition(er) in Mumbai will usually start off with one of 3 things. You either receives a call from your agent with details of an audition that you MUST go to because you have been SHORTLISTED (along with 200 odd other shortlisted people) this is usually my lot in life. Or an almost identical audition sms sent by at least 3 freelance COORDINATORS that seem to have handpicked you (with out your consent or any prior knowledge) as their own. Or a friend forwarding you details of the very same audition that about twenty others have sent you already and saying “you should come yaaa, I’ve been short listed but come with me anyway yaaa”.
 
The audition details day after day, year after year all consist of one thing in common, they are all based in audition land, better known as ANDHERI WEST.  Audition land is a place far, far away from ‘society’, as we Bandra-ites know it. It’s a land that takes a whole lot of patience and perseverance to get to and much like the biblical Promised Land, it harbors our hopes and dreams and tests our inner most sanctity. In short, it brings out the crazy in us and makes us loco in the coco (nut) if you know what I mean! 
 
Between audition land and Bandra West there is a plethora of hyperbolic situations to deal with and they all begin in a rickshaw (for the majority of us).  Because travels to audition land are not to be taken lightly, a lot of pre planning must be done first. If you have been asked to only one audition for the day, then one must be resourceful and club an assortment of meetings in audition land.  ‘Meetings’ do not have to consist of actual business intended get-togethers, although preferably they should but they can and often do consist of killing two birds with one stone and meeting up with audition land dwellers that we Bandra-ites always fake promise to meet with and never actually do. 
 
On the other hand if we are called to the promised land with a day of purpose and with many auditions lined up then the rickshaw ride consists of something altogether different. You see, rarely is there an audition that comes around that does not require you to dress a very precise and certain way. So, if you have several auditions in that one day, you will have to laden your bag (s) and rickshaw with an attire that most likely consists of; heels, flats, ‘western sexy’ wear, ‘Indian traditional dress’ (the two categories implying a vast world of difference in the ‘depth’ of character that you would be required to play and can never be placed in the same category) casual, jeans and a spaghetti top and formal (whatever that means). And that’s just clothing, next up you need to add to the mix, make up and make up remover for each look, hair accessories and perhaps, just perhaps an actual script that you may, just may have been blessed with the night before. 
 
Having emerged from Bandra fresh faced, styled and hopeful, the journey begins. And my-oh-my the magnitude of the journey ahead of us cannot even hope to be pacified by the I tunes that blare battling the rhythm of the bustling metropolis outside.  A good solid half of the year is spent suffocating and sweating in our low ceilinged ricks (rickshaw) as we put more bounce to the ounce upon every journey. The fresh faces we wore a mere two minutes ago in the oasis of our Air Conditioned apartments now painting a picture of its own accord as it drips like an oil painting in heat. We fan ourselves and look frantically in the rickshaw side view mirrors as we sweat buckets and accumulate layer upon layer of dust and toxic fumes from the insane and I mean INSANE traffic on either side of us. 
 
Breathe just breathe, ok no, don’t breathe, air toxic…. Just….just exist, without breathing, yes it’s possible, just try …. go to your Zen place, you’re a Piscean, you can do it, dissolve into your worlds, ahhh, see, better. Now, where was I?  Ahhh, the relief of one quarter of the year comes a long with it’s winter wonderland as we lap up the existence of a breeze and savor the possibility of actually turning up to an audition looking semi decent and not like something the cat dragged in! Why can’t I ever get an audition for wind swept, rickshaw matted bed hair with a ‘shiny glowing sun kissed’ complexion? Now, that’s an audition I’d kick some serious butt in ;)
 
And here comes my beloved season, the madness and mayhem of Monsoon. Oh you know what I’m talking about, let’s not deny it, Monsoon gets your pulses raising one way or another. Along with the dirt on the streets, romance is in the air. Now, I must admit monsoon is only bearable for me because I have my incredibly sexy Burberry gumboots to walk me through life. Without the weight that these babies carry, my burden would be two fold and some to be precise. If only Burberry knew the kind of crap (literally) that I wade through each day on my voyage to audition land and back! I’m sure their ad campaigns would look a whole lot different. “Why look like crap when you’re walking through crap! When it comes to crap, we walk through it best , Burberry, stay stylish” (Sorry Nushi, I stole your ‘stay stylish’ but all in the name of fashion…love you).
 
So, you’ve finally made it to audition land, well-done Bandra hopefuls! Now we begin the audition process. This is like nothing you have ever experienced before and I truly mean that, especially coming from a different country and having auditioned all around the world. Most of the auditions in audition land are 15 minutes from each other so it’s just a matter of lugging your luggage from one rick to another once you’ve made it so far. And finding a place to change once you’ve arrived, trying your very hardest to not touch anything around you in the hopes of preventing any further dirt from touching you, which in itself is a performance of another kind. 
 
Each audition is usually in a small audition room that has a capacity to seat approximately 15 people with a further hundred people at any given interval crammed in this 15 seater place or/and spilling out the doors. And without a doubt the 15 odd seats available are taken by the beefiest, muscled up, protein-drinking guys that pretty much look generically the same. Oops! 
 
It’s hot throughout any given season and OMG is it smelly!!! It is THE craziest thing to find that the majority (not all of course) of these auditioners have worn their best clothes, blow dried their hair and styled it to perfection, worn their “this is why I’m hot” attitudes and then forgot(?) to wear deodorant or perhaps have a shower (?). But I kid you not and I know I am sounding awfully, well awful, when I say this but the smell in these rooms is worse than the smell on the streets outside. Oh and don’t even consider drinking any liquids in case you need to pee. Save nourishment and thirst for in between the auditions or better yet when we go back home. 
 
So, once the suffocating process of bearing the room full of auditioners for AT LEAST two hours is over, we get to audition in front of a non qualified casting person and camera man who take it in turns to ‘direct’ you with a complete lack of ability as to what is required of you. It goes a little something like this “Yes, yes, you do this, haan, haan, just be sexy, now you act surprised, oh yes, good, good, now do it again but be more, more”. 
 
The audition is given in front of the ENTIRE waiting room of people! There is no inner room nor is their any privacy. So absolutely everyone sees each other’s audition and there is no room nor is their time to have stage fright or let anyone’s (everyone’s) blaring glares effect you. The other very important thing to try and avoid is sounding like the other 99 people in front of you and unfortunately pretty much all 99 people do end up sounding a like because you have been listening to the same lines said over and over again for 2 hours in the same tone. Either that or you have been listening to the mindless hushed chatter around you about what audition everyone’s been on and what diets they are trying or what work they have been selected to do. By the time the 2 hours of waiting and not to mention the frazzled ride to audition land are over and we finally get to stand in front of the camera and the 100 pairs of glaring eyes in front of you, you are so very dazed and confused that you’re 2 minutes of Glory are usually not as illustrious as your day dreaming on the way over here. 
 
Chin up, it’s only the first audition and the first 3 hours of the day spent, on to the next audition, this is it, this is the one, you will rock it, breathe, just breathe. 4 auditions down, meetings had, head pounding, exhaustion, dehydration, dreaming of exfoliating myself from head to toe and to see a friendly face back in Bandra… into the rickshaw I go as I depart from the promised land to the land of promise. Tomorrow’s a new day ☺ must tell my agent to filter these auditions a whole lot better. And to all you peeps that think we don’t do anything as actors/models/presenters …. This isn’t even a quarter of our non working day! 
 
The daily work that goes into finding work and sustaining it on EVERY level of being a performer is something that’s so hard to explain to those who haven’t experienced our industry but we do it and we smile through it cause we chose it and we love the actual job, insecurities, instabilities and all ☺
 
Emerging in the auto rickshaw and FIVE MINUTES LATER!!
 
All decked up.. as the script demands!!
 
"Half of the year is spent suffocating, sweating in low ceilinged ricks"
 
15-JUNE-2013
 
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6 Comments
 
24-JUNE-2013 Manoj sujan
That's the reality...amazing..look at it this way..more talent than most...you can write and how..well done...
 
 
16-JUNE-2013 Heena Alim
I thought it was only young models who struggled. Gee! You have a tough life behind that 15 minutes of glory!!
 
 
16-JUNE-2013 Ram Thukral
Good blog. The movie 'Fashion' sure misled the masses!
 
 
15-JUNE-2013 Namrata Raisinghania
Wow!!!!!!!!!! And it looks like all you got to do is put on your face and walk out on to the catwalk !!
 
 
15-JUNE-2013 Sameer Kapoor
lovely to behold.. rick or Audi
 
 
15-JUNE-2013 Fashionmostwanted.com
The stunning and gorgeous Karishma Naina we love you... :-* :-* :-*
 
 
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