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The day I was offered a role on a TV show



In the last few weeks, I've been taking an Ola/Uber to work and back everyday. I use the ride time to read something or get some work done at the back. And occasionally, strike up a conversation with the driver. Yesterday evening was once such day when I was speaking to the driver.

When Uber first started off, it allowed anyone with a car and a spare seat to register with them and make some money by driving around people looking for taxis, until regulations in India made it harder for people to sign up as a driver. But, I realised yesterday that people still do it.

Yesterday's driver told me that he only drives 10 days a month when he has a break from his regular job. And what is his regular job? He is a Production Manager for Kannada movies and TV shows and has been in the industry for close to eighteen years now. 

Most of the drivers in Bangalore speak Kannada and that's the first language I use when I converse with one of them, and only switch to Hindi or English depending on their preference. 

After nearly 45 minutes when the driver was happily listening to the radio and driving the car while I was working on my laptop, we started to speak. Soon, he started telling me about how hard the work of a Production manager is and how the lucrative business of driving a taxi for Uber/Ola enticed him to try it out on the days he was free.

He claimed to make up to 45,000 rupees from Ola in those ten days while that was just about how much his other job paid as well. I didn't want to dampen his mood by talking about the impending arrival of self driving cars, so we spoke about his career in the Kannada TV and film industry instead. 

Apparently, he was roommates with Ganesh of Mungaaru Male fame when they were both auditioning for movies and were earning little doing small roles. The television industry demands the actors to have a fit body and my driver (about time I mentioned his name - Manjunath), Manjunath, decided that he would have to spend more than what he was earning to stay fit enough to audition for a lead role, and that he was in no position to do that. So, he went on to become a Production Manager instead by getting to know the movie technicians, the actors and the producers. 

Since then, he has had the chance to play small to decently important roles in multiple TV shows over the years. For those who might have an idea about Kannada TV shows, he has worked on shows like Nandagokula and Guptagamini. And his latest show is something that is coming out in the prime time slot that has recently been vacated by Bigg Boss. 

By the time we had hit this point in our conversation, we had arrived at my place and it was time for me to get off. But, clearly he had more to say to me, and instead of receiving the cab fare I was offering him, he fired up his phone and started showing me his Whatsapp groups from the shows that he is currently working on. He also showed some examples of people whose careers in the movie industry started either because he got them a small role or made an introduction to a director or something else of the sort. 

Finally, he gave me his card and asked me to give him a call to attend an audition for a role in an up-coming TV show. 

Not that I'll take it up, but I have been on stage before as part of a professional play (when I say professional, there was a fee to watch the play). So, one day, if you turn on the TV and land up on a Kannada channel and see me there, it likely came out of this Ola/Uber ride.

PS: I've heard such incidents are quite the norm if you're in Los Angeles.

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1 comments:

  1. Read an interview of Airbnb CEO long back where he predicted that people in developing economies will move to having different income streams(from Airbnb,Uber,Postmates etc) rather than stable,regular salary-paying careers. Thanks to Ola and Uber's incentive schemes it has started happening in some of the Indian metros although I am also doubtful of sustainability of these kind of income streams for these kind of people who will be hit very hard the day the gold-rush tapers of.

    P.S. - You should try to attend the audition. :P

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