I’m not famous. And it’s fabulous!

This weekend, I went on the sets of Neegallum Vellalam Oru Kodi (Who wants to be a millionaire – in tamil). I wasn’t on the hot seat, no, but I was meant to be part of the audience. My mother-in-law invited me to watch my sister-in-law go on the show. I usually don’t go for tamil shows – I don’t understand half the shows, and really have no interest in them. That apart, I figured it would be interesting to see what the sets look like, and how they film stuff – I mean, who hasn’t watched this show, whatever language it’s in!!

The outside of the studios is pretty cool, with large warehouse style buildings. The outside of the Neegallum set had a “Central Jail” sign above it, complete with that miniature metal door that badguys always come through. That was very cool. I didn’t take pictures though, I thought I’d only look like a loser in front of the 50 men standing in a queue outside the entrance. Do they sell tickets for the audience seats? Why was it only men who were interested – is it because Surya (the host) is meant to be awesome?

Once I got to the sets (after pushing my way through the many men), the words “oh no” crossed my mind.

I thought the place would be super cool, with crazy camera men, and those director chairs and lights and make-up people and trailers (okay, there were a few trailers), and everyone would be super busy. It’s not true. It’s not like the movies (of course). Everyone’s boring, everyone’s on their iPhones busy with their other lives, it’s really hot and dark, and there’s small rooms with clothes everywhere. I guess that’s what TV people have to wear? So we can’t really blame their lack of colour coordination anymore right? Their stylist is colour blind…

We waited for a while thinking the shooting would start, but then find out that it’s starting late. Maybe Surya needed his beauty sleep after lunch. So we sit around for ages (this is when I start slowly dying inside, and I’m pretty sure my mother-in-law felt the same), and finally see some activity by the set. The rest of the audience is already up there, they don’t get to walk around unfortunately. So we move up to the sets and sit in the non-audience bit. There’s a rehearsal of some sort… it’s the “how to clap as a member of the audience” lesson. Oh. My. God. The crew spend 20 minutes teaching the audience how to clap and shout encouragement appropriately. There’s even a test run where a fake Surya walks in and everyone has to get “excited”, but only to an extent. There is a line people!¬† After that session, they tested lights and cameras and angles and blah. Boring after the first 5 minutes really. Finally, finally Surya walks in. Finally. They expect silence after the fake cheering, no phones, no coughs, no farts. They start filming and it goes on and on. The guy on the hot seat fancies himself a regular Slumdog Millionaire type and has stories and explanations for every answer he gives. Since I don’t understand TV Tamil very well, this was probably one of the most tedious experiences of my life. I managed to get by only because Surya’s blank expressions are rather amusing. I’ve always wondered why Surya seems to have this disability to put words together fluently. He speaks like there’s a full stop after every word, and it really grinds my gears. Turns out he has a problem reading his script from the massive TV screen. He reads like a 4 year old, which makes him look like an ass every time he speaks. He should work on that. He also needs less makeup and smaller hair. His hair could make Johnny Bravo’s knees wobble.

After what seemed like an endless hour and half, they stopped long enough for us to think let’s get out while we can and we ran away and never looked back. The end.

We were meant to be part of the audience, but shooting was so slow that it never go to that. So we were told to come back the next day, but who in their right mind would want that?! I also noticed they film the audience constantly. Every yawn, every scowl, every nose itch, every wtf, everything is captured on camera. Who knows what you’ll be doing in the final cut that goes on TV. Sitting in the non-audience section, I must have yawned a record number of times. It’s not going to improve ratings if such displays of boredom are put on TV for the world to see. I’ll make sure I always stay far away from¬† the production of TV shows from now on. I much prefer to enjoy the show on TV, once it’s all done and not boring.

Celebrities have the worst jobs. They have the worst lives too. Imagine living a life that’s hardly yours to enjoy. In your personal life, you can’t eat what you want, you can’t repeat clothing, you can’t have bad skin, or hair, or chewed up nails, or get caught doing something ridiculous in public. Depending on how big a celeb you are, you can’t just chill when you’re out travelling, or shopping, or wining and dining. Some people here can’t even do that, because the public think they’re holier than thou. Do I smell bullshit? People as big as Surya hardly have time for their families, because they have all this film stuff to do, different countries, different timings. Even when you’re on a time out, you get followed so you can be caught with your pants down.

In their professional lives, or what I got a glimpse of, it’s just as bad. They pretend to have friends, but up in those empty, pretty little heads of theirs, they’re thinking ‘that girl’s got an ass the size of a whale‘ or ‘she looks like she’s selling her body in that dress’. Everyone’s always looking, scrutinising what the other wears, or how the other sits, who’s speaking to whom. It’s awful. I like that I come in to work, and the biggest worry is how boring the day could be, or how busy, or what to eat for lunch (because I can!). I like that my afternoon woes are to do with the heat in my car, and how that hot plastic smell gives me a headache, not how the heat could affect my mascara or the way my boobs look. Hell, I don’t even wear mascara! I like that when I go out, I can get food all down my shirt and no one will put it up in the news. It may go on Twitter, depending on who’s with me, but whatever. I’m not famous, and I love it!

Now, being infamous… that’s a whole different thing. I could do that!

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