The extras  

Posted by Praveen in

Take a movie that you watched recently or just think about one of your favourite movies. What comes to your mind? The lead actors? The director? The script? The cinematography? I bet not one of you thought about those beings called the 'extras'. Yes, the ones who does the bit roles, the blink and miss ones. The watchman who had just one line in the whole movie, the lady serving tea at the restaurant, the gardener who delivers roses for the romantic lead lady, the cleaner who gives a smile and 'good morning' to the lead guy, the guy setting up the funeral pyre of a main character, the driver who takes the villain to the climatic scene- not one of them must have come into your memory right now. No, It won't come into mine too. Because they are just the 'extras', just like the embellishments to a wonderful jewellery, the index pages of a classic book, the cotton cloth used to clean a precision camera or just plainly they are people to fill up the screen so that the protagonist can shine delivering his punchlines.

But, are there 'extras' in real life? You, the greatest person in the world(make no mistake about it, most of us think so about ourselves...yes, I do), sees so many of them around you as extras. Whatever you might be, self-centric, eccentric, poly-centric or centreless, you must've seen atleast a few people that you came across in your life as 'bit players' or 'extras'. The old lady to whom you asked the way to an obscure location is an extra for you, a tool to know the direction. The driver of the volvo bus you travelled last week is another extra. Same with the guy selling popcorn on the roadside or the cobbler stitching your worn out sports shoe. They are just the bit actors that you need so that you can dazzle the life's stage as the lead actor.

One moment, before you go into the self congratulatory excercise of being the lead actor on world's stage. Think for one moment from the shoes of one of those extras that were mentioned above. Where do you see yourself? Don't you see an 'extra' in you? The lady, the driver or the cobbler is the lead actor now. You have just an one minute screen space in the movie of their life. From the heights of being the lead actor, you are being relegated into a faceless, nameless bit player. You are just one of the 100 men who stitched their shoes at the cobbler's shop today. You are just one of the thousands whom the volvo bus driver drove from one place to another. You are just a passing nuisance asking for directions, while the old lady was busy enacting the climax of her life. So, who really is the extra and who is the lead actor now?

The fact is that there are no extras in real life. Each one of us is a lead actor, including the plain faced inconsequential characters that you meet in your everyday life. Each one of them is enacting the role of a lifetime. Even the people who plays the 'extras' in films play the lead role in their lives. And, when it comes to these extras's life, Kamal Haasan, Mohanlal or Al Pacino is just an extra. So, there are now 6.781 billion(the world's population as of yesterday) lead actors around the world acting in an equal number of movies. The real good ones go on to win the oscars for lifetime achievement and the real bad ones covet for themselves the razzies for utter failure. Whatever it is, its unimportant. The only important fact is that there is not a single unimportant person on earth. Go and play the lad role of your lives. Put in the performance of your lifetime and make Al Pacino an extra in your life. Also, give me an 'extra' role too. :)

Inspired from a dialogue in the movie 'Synecdoche, New York' by the brilliant Charlie Kauffman(about whom am planning to write a big tribute). The dialogue goes somewhat like this- "I know how to do this play now. There are nearly 13 million people in this world. I mean, can you imagine that many people? And none of those people is an extra. They're all leads in their own stories. And they've to be given their due."

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your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 03, 2009 at Thursday, September 03, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


So true. I remembered a dialogue form the movie Anand - "hum sab rang manch ke khilaDiyaan hai.... woh chalata hai, hum chalte hain kaTputliyOn ki thara..."

A wonderfully put post. Complete and consice.

10:56 AM

Just saw your blog... i think it is very informative... gr8 job keep it going..

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11:21 AM

I guess the Synecdoche inspired you to think on these lines, did it? Nice read, and interesting angle to look at life..

I think in todays world, we are all Extras. Yeah, it isn't a disagreement to your post but how much control have we over our lives? Are we pulling the strings? The answer is no! The lead players of todays world are politicians and their close family members, underworld dadas, Quotation Gangs and so on.. They decide what we do, how we live.. If our communist party decides that Volvo is a 'kuthaka company' and it wont ply in Kerala from tomorrow, then it will be the way so.. So actually we are living acc to someone else's tunes.. :)

Ah some useless whinging... Hope you had a rocking Onam.. :) tk man!

2:35 PM

I simply loved u post, i should tell that its pretty different frm ur usual ones, dnt knw shud i saw inspirational or touching, it was a gud one in every sense...

3:29 PM

Good post !!

Didnt shakespeare tell something on these lines before? Something on stage and actors. :D :D :D

1:24 AM

Thoughtful thoughts from an extra's viewpoint :)

I guess extras do have a significant role in daily life. A smile or a nice gesture can change your or others day, and viceversa. Much like a butterfly effect, it can go on creating changes in all the other extras in some way or other.

Yes, it is always good to see through an extra's eyes. That helps life a lot.

3:38 PM

another extra stopped by to say u gotta nice post here

11:39 PM

awesome thought process :-) i completely agree with ur viewpwoint!

those ppl mayb extras in our life... but just as similarly, we r extras in their lives too. its just a matter of whose perspective u r seeing it from!

7:05 PM

I was expecting the central idea around which the post was woven to be "We are all extras" from the 1st 2 paras..

It's a paradox. How may of us know of a worthwhile purpose to live life king-size.. Most of us are living lowly perfunctory lives... Though nobody feels less 'important'..

Whetted my appetite for some food for thought.. Thanks!

9:15 PM

And i thought u wud end the entry with this

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;

BTW great writing!!

9:50 PM

wow..nice dialogue...havnt seen the movie though

aah...thats a more realistic view of our situation. True, we are all slaves sometimes but we could actually break free if we ever put our mind into it..

@devil incarnate
yea..true, some kind of writing which am not used to :D...though am happy tht u liked it

yea...i guess the bard has said smething like tht..hehehee

but the thing I wanted to convey was that, even these extras are lead actors themselves and they have the power to make big things happen just like any other biggie..

hehhe...u r the lead actress:P

yea! u got the point!

Most of us has the capability for the king size life...infact all of us...its just that we dont try

yea..wanted to..but then its obvious from the lost itself..

1:23 AM

yes, i understood that and didnt mean to oppose what you said. just put my views in a different way.

11:53 AM

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