After an interesting and quirky day at the toilet museum we head to the pub for a cold beer. During our refreshment we are greeted by two movie directors Ilmaz and Lam. Jill’s eyes lit up with excitement. We were asked to be extras in a short documentary, which we find out later is an advertisement for medical tourism.
We are told we will be picked up by a private car at 8.30-9am, we will be fed lunch and dinner and returned home about 7pm.
On the day of shooting the boss collects us in his car and we are assigned Lam to look after us for the day. We are taken to the hospital for the first location. We mostly sit around for the first hour, offered food and drinks and continually asked if we need anything. We definitely feel like Stars.
A team of 8 or so work on the production. The hospital director decides which parts we are assigned to. Matt will be a spinal patient with lower back and leg pain and Jill is an infertility patient.
Matt is the first star. He looks incredibly sexy in his light blue costume. He has lights on him and numerous camera men ensuring they are getting the right light, angle, frame and audio. There is lots of waiting between shots. Matt looks right in his element. Although he gets a few strange looks from the local patients.
Next is Jill’s turn in the assessment room with the doctor. They said the performance was “A class” and “great facial expressions” no need to reshoot. Watch the size of her head grow! In between the crew changing camera positions, fixing props and debating, Jill speaks to the doctor whom is actually a resident doctor in the hospital. She informed that the art work on her arms was from last weekend where there was a big celebration of her and her fiancées engagement. It is a love marriage and he too is a doctor. They are to be married February 2013. We chatted about our respective hospitals, patient loads etc. She will be delivering a baby this afternoon. Their hospital appears to operate similar to ours but I still have a little doubt about the quality of care. We read a sign in the waiting room that reads they will not perform any tests to inform the sex of the baby as it is highly illegal. It makes you wonder why Australians commonly have need to know the sex of their baby.
Next were off for the technical shots. Jill gets a photo shoot getting an ultrasound and Matt a CT scan. In between shooting we chat to the friendly crew. Some are from Delhi while others are from all over India. Everyone knows their jobs really well and they all like to have a laugh too.
We get a thali lunch then head to the next location which is a pretty little farm stay an hour and a half away. It’s a property owned by the hospital director and we are acting as patients in recovery staying out of the city as part of a package option for foreigners coming to India for medical treatment.
Conditions are perfect when we get there but 5 minutes later a dust storm rolls over the hills which wreaks havoc on production. It’s getting late and we’re booked on a train to Jaipur tomorrow so there will be no re-shoot. But no problem, everyone just gets creative to make it work. We hope it turns out ok. The editing guys have their work cut out for them. Our last shots were taken sitting on the grass meditating in the rain. Something we were well prepared for after just spending a week in an ashram.
Due to the bad weather we head back to the hospital to finish the shoot. They squeeze in a shot of Jill getting a dental examination and shooting wraps up at about 9.30.
We say our goodbyes to the crew and head to dinner with the boss Manoj, our chaperone Lam and the editor, we think his name is Manesh, who if he’s not laughing he always has a smile on his face.
We order a few beers and some dishes at a crazy bar, it’s loud, raucous and the service and food isn’t great so it’s decided that we need to be shown a proper Indian restaurant. Not before Manoj orders a few more beers though.
We get to the next restaurant at 11pm and the sign on the door says closed! We have to get up at 5am tomorrow to catch our train. But this restaurant is one of Manoj’s clients and friends and the staff happily welcome us. The restaurant is beautifully decorated. A big tree is the centerpiece and the murals on the walls glow somehow. After a tour of the place we sit on the chariot styled seats. Manoj orders a myriad of dishes and of course some more beers. Then we delightfully savor some of the best Indian food we have ever eaten and get to know our new friends a little better.
We get home at 1am and have to be up at 5am to catch our train. The doorman is passed out drunk behind the counter. And we’re locked out. Great! We ring the bell, call the phone and bash on the door but he doesn’t budge. Finally someone comes down the stairs and lets us in.
Only a few hours sleep but we are very grateful for our fun day being treated like stars and more so for having the opportunity to hang out with some cool Indians.