After 23 some hours of travel, I arrived in India with Steven and Allan about 4:30am on Thursday morning. The flights were without incident – always something to be grateful for! Ramesh, a friend from OM (Operation Mercy), was there to meet us and held up his sign that said OM INDIA on it. This was awesome because on our scouting trip in February, we missed the sign, looked for him for over an hour and ended up hiring a taxi to drive us into Hyderabad. So, it was great to connect with him so quickly on our arrival!
After a few hours of rest and a hot shower, we were off to look at a few of the locations again. We went to Charminar (pictured right) and it was crazy yet again. The place is buzzing with activity no matter the day or the hour. The largest mosque in Hyderabad, maybe in India, is in Charminar district. That being said, it is a highly Muslim area – and interesting being stared at by dark eyes of women through the small opening in their head wraps. I think the sight of three white guys walking through the market area is a bit unusual. But, we weren’t the only people there doing film scouting. Another group of young Indian guys were shooting video down the same street that we hope to film as well.
You also take your life into your hands any time you decide to venture out of your vehicle and walk – especially at a place like Charminar. I narrowly escaped being hit by at least three auto rickshaws as they carried their fares through the area. Our local guide/driver told us that a woman had jumped off of Charminar the day before and committed suicide. Amazing how a structure that was built to commemorate the ending of a plague was the choice for someone to end their life.
After Charminar, we headed around the town, looking at different sites and potential locations for our shoot in January and then back to our hotel. The three of us to met in the lounge to continue our discussion about budget and schedule. Steven and Allan are great guys and it is great to have them on the team. They have so much experience and bring incredible expertise to this film – plus they’re just great to hang out with! We’ve had many laughs already and have started to create those memories that make for great jokes through the production process – remember when, etc?!
Friday was spent at OM – our ministry partners. Again, OM stands for Operation Mercy and they have quite a campus. We were greeted warmly by Beena, one of the administrators at OM. She has been our host before and it was good to see her again and to introduce her to Steven and Allan. She was amazing and had our day planned. We toured the OM compound and it was great to see all that OM is doing. From their college to train pastors, to their school that educates 450 Dalit children, to the Lydia School that trains women in sewing, to their two churches and on and on, OM is busy impacting their world. It is so cool to be partnering with them on this film. Many questions were answered today – housing, production office, security, medical, transportation, locations, finances and banking, etc. We met with several other OM leaders for lunch and a great discussion. Dr. D’Souza was unable to join us because his mother has become quite sick and has been hospitalized. Fortunately, the lump they found was not cancer, but they aren’t taking any chances. He is spending as much time as he can with his mother. Please keep her in your prayers.
Our good friend, Sebastian, joined us for lunch, too, with his wife. He is in charge of all media production from OM. He’s excited to be a part and to help out however he can. I’ll be meeting with several girls for the role of Kavya next Tuesday. They are bringing girls from their surrounding schools into the OM campus to meet with me. I am very excited about this part of the trip! They also arranged for us to fly to Calcutta on Wednesday to further scout the locations for the last part of the film. Our day ended traveling back to our hotel in rush hour traffic – India style! We met again to discuss the film and the many details that will make or break the production. More laughs, more memories. Can I just say that the time change of flying around the world takes its toll in strange and interesting ways?!
After a good night’s rest, today (Saturday), we’re off to the dump and a few slums as well. Just the thought of going to the dump again makes me not look forward to this trip – and yet thousands of people call this their home. Another reason to pray that God continues to shine on this film – it can have such an impact. Pray that all goes well and we continue to find blessing and safety!