Tuesday, May 24, 2011

3 seconds of fame

While eating lunch at the local shopping centre the other day (yes there is a very modern shopping centre that looks extremely out of place amongst the rubble and makeshift houses) I almost choked on my chapatti when I looked up at the television and saw my face staring right back at me!
I had completely forgotten that a couple of months back I had agreed to take part in the latest LPU television commercial. I had agreed to do it putting it down to another experience that wouldn’t come about otherwise. On the day of the filming I was an absolute mess. The day prior, my grandmother and uni friend had both passed away and I was still in shock and a blubbering mess. When I received the call that I needed to be on set at 10am I politely asked if I could be excused due to my current state and I was shocked when they told me that unless I was dead I still needed to be there. I tried arguing the point but I had signed a contract and they had measured me for my costume (which was just a t-shirt that anyone could have worn). Of course the real reason they would not let me back out was due to the fact that I was the only western female at the uni and the whole campaign was based around how ‘international’ the university is.
Dutifully I turned up on time for my hair and make-up and was told I would just need to wait 10 minutes. In India this translates to “You could be waiting for hours” and seven hours later sitting in a tiny smoked filled make-up truck someone came in to brush my hair and put powder over my face. At one point I attempted to leave the truck and I was physically grabbed by the back of my shirt and literally yanked back in by a creepy little man who had the job of ‘supervising’ me. When I was finally filmed for my part, I was taught a native Indian dance move and was surrounded by Indian women in their traditional dress. Interestingly, my small part on the big screen is a close up of my face and I am unsure of why I had to go through the torture of learning the dance steps.
I have worked in advertising and I am fully aware that things in commercials are not always what they seem, so when I saw the ad for the first time I wasn’t that surprised to see a gleaming well-equipped university that looks nothing like the one I attend. I can only hope it is what the university is aspiring to and that one day in the very near future it will actually look like it does on the ad.

The basket ball courts

Barbed wire surrounds everything at the uni - at least I'm safe!

My education block (the blue perplex was a recently knocked out window by protesting students)

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