Helicopters, Bollywood Stars and Serendipity.


humshakal-film-shoot-sept-2013-36On Sunday I was a very lucky girl! I was flown by helicopter from Surrey to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire to spend a day on the sets of a Bollywood film.

It was probably one of the most magical days of my life.

From the moment I woke up at 5am to the time I got back home at 6pm – I was like a child on Christmas Day. So excited!

Flying at sunrise

Flying at Sunrise

The thing I was most excited about was the helicopter ride! You see, I’ve never been in a helicopter before, and to be flown over London city at sunrise and to land on the front lawn of Chatsworth House is an experience that I will never ever forget!

Saif Ali Khan

Saif Ali Khan always on the phone

We spent all day watching the filming of a Bollywood film called Humshakal due to be released in June 2014 and featuring big stars like Saif Ali Khan, Bipasha Basu and Riteish Deshmukh. I don’t get star struck very easily, as I believe actors are just doing a job – for which they are fortunate to get paid a lot of money. I do admire those who make it to the top – because it is a tough industry and for every mega star who makes it, there are 1000s who have failed. But still, I have no time for big egos, and so meeting stars doesn’t faze me!

It was really interesting to watch the process of filming, and see how each scene is shot in so many different ways – and how many takes are needed for what seemed like very simple lines. I was amazed at the number of crew on location. The entire team was made up of people from England as well as a large Indian contingent. It was really interesting to see (and hear) how they worked together – and one could often see the clash of cultures. 

 It was truly a super day – and I will cherish the memory for a long time.

But, I have been thinking about how the whole experience came about – and what led me to get a phone call from one of my class Jhoomers on a Saturday afternoon asking if I could make the trip the following day.

Well, it all goes back to the Coffee and Cake Morning that I held for Breakthrough Breast Cancer on my birthday on the 14th of September.

Just a quick recap!

Breakthrough Coffee and Cake Morning 14 sept 2013 (11)

Jhoomers and their cakes

coffee-and-cake-morning-14-sept-20131Just Jhoom! has partnered with Breakthrough Breast Cancer and pledged to fundraise for their campaigning and research activities for the next 12 months. The event I held on that Saturday morning was one of the first ones in the hope to kick-start and encourage other instructors to follow suit. It was all quite lastminute – and I really wasn’t sure how successful it would be – seeing that I really hadn’t done very much planning! I had literally booked a hall, sent an email to all my Jhoomers, put an event on Facebook and bought some tea and coffee supplies. The rest the Jhoomers did! They turned up, they brought cake, they ate cake and they donated their money generously… and in one hour we raised £216. Not bad for an hours work! And, I was on a real high afterwards. It felt good to give back, to raise money for a worthwhile cause – and just to spend time with my Jhoomers and friends in a social, relaxed environment. It was a lovely, fun morning.

Attending the morning was someone I’ve known for many years – but who has never been to my classes before. Katharine Gordon and I used to work at the Cranleigh Arts Centre around the same time in the early noughties. Katharine saw the event on Facebook – and replied that she would be there both for the Coffee and Cake Morning and the Just Jhoom! class before. She was there, she Jhoomed – and she loved it! She promptly signed up for the rest of my classes for the term. So, there was something else that was successful from that morning – a new Jhoomer for my classes. And I can tell you – she is a true Bollywood Diva!

Katharine had only been coming to my classes for 2 weeks – when her partner Philip (a helicopter pilot) mentioned that he had been asked to fly a helicopter in a Bollywood film and would she like to accompany him? Also, because he would be filming for much of the time, would Katharine like to bring someone with her to keep her company? And, guess who she chose!!

So there I was being invited to visit a Bollywood set, spend the day milling with actors and crew, and be transported there by helicopter. As you can imagine – it took all of 5 seconds to make up my mind and change all the existing plans I had for Sunday!

And, it all came back to the Coffee and Cake Morning.

Philip and Katharine in the front!

Philip and Katharine in the front!

If I had not held it, would Katharine have started coming to my Just Jhoom! classes? If she hadn’t been attending my classes would she have thought about accompanying her partner to a Bollywood film set? If she had gone, would she have thought of me as the person to accompany them? I don’t know. But I am grateful for the sequence of events – because it gave me this fabulous, truly mind-blowing experience.

 Deepak Chopra talks about the Law of Giving and Receiving. He says:
“The universe operates through dynamic exchange . . . giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”

I didn’t hold the Coffee and Cake Morning with the intention of receiving anything personally. It really was about raising money for an important charity. But I got so much more than I bargained for. Fun, friendship, laughter, happiness and… a helicopter ride! And for that, I will always be grateful.

Life is truly amazing! Don’t you think?

PS – Big Thank You to Katharine and Philip for a Jhoomtastic experience!

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