Pune’s senior citizens work as extras in Bollywood filmsLifestyle — By The Desk on November 15, 2010 at 12:38 PM
Indian Express: When Ganesh Deshpande, 67, a former employee of Cummins India, says his latest movie is Dabbang, he doesn’t mean that he’s just seen it. He means he’s finished acting in it. Much like former banker Gajanan Vanarase (62) and businessman Surendra Zad (65) who, along with Deshpande, were part of the wedding crowd at Chulbul Pandey’s wedding in Dabbang.
It’s quite the latest thing with senior citizens in Pune who have graduated from whiling their time sipping tea at kattas to working as extras in Bollywood films, Marathi serials and even advertisements. What’s more, most of them are called for shoots as frequently as thrice a week with Pune becoming a favourite shooting locale.
“It began about a year ago when a friend from my senior citizen’s club asked if I was interested in working as an extra. I hadn’t watched a film in theatres for the last 20 years, but went along,” Deshpande says. His first one as Hindi movie Knock Out, where he had to run as part of a crowd in a bomb blast scene.
Since then, there has been no looking back. Deshpande has been seen in the engagement scene of Marathi soap Amar Prem that was telecast last Saturday, movie Kashala Udyachi Baat being shot in Marathi and Hindi simultaneously, an untitled Hindi movie that was shot in Lavasa and others.
Having met Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Mohan Joshi and Subodh Bhave among others, his most memorable shoot is of Marathi movie Lathi, where he, along with some other seniors, had to thrash about a dozen goondas who had driven them out of their old-age home. “I was given a bamboo stick and was asked to beat the boys. After three re-takes, I got tired of beating but the young body builders were still energetic,” he says. His wife Snehal is happy that her husband has found an innovative way to spend time.
Vanarase’s experience is no different. “Earlier, I used to play carom or chess in the senior citizen’s club every day. Though I still do it, the shoots are a good change in the routine.”
All these have been made possible by Nilima Shinde who is in the business of providing actors of all ages to various production houses for the past five years. “The number of senior citizens joining this field is increasing in the city. Not only do we take care of their transport and food during the shoot, we also pay them anything between Rs 100 to Rs 250 a day depending on budget.”
Madhavi Godse (name changed),also a senior citizen, who accompanies her husband to shoots whenever time permits, says, “I was brought up in a very conservative family so I don’t tell my relatives that I go for shoots with my husband. But, since I enjoy it, I do accompany him often.”
“More than the remuneration, we are happy doing something different in the company of our friends, meeting new people and getting an insight of the glamour world,” says Deshpande as he gets ready to pose as a guest in another wedding scene.