The cast of Crazy Rich Asians included me.
I auditioned and was chosen to play Colin’s (Chris Pang) driver.
The local casting company had asked me about the car I owned, the bikes I rode, and whether I could walk, talk, dance, swim et al.
These had something to do with matching my skills to the movie character.
With my salt and pepper hair, I thought I could have played Nick Young’s (Henry Golding) father, who was not seen in the movie but mentioned.
I could have kissed Michelle Yeoh.
But the casting folks thought I looked more like a chauffeur. Perhaps they were right. Personal drivers in Asia are supposed to be older men.
But strangely, a younger guy was also cast as Colin’s other driver.
And so, the day of the shoot arrived. It was at Changi Airport. There were three hundred other extras that morning who also reported at 6:30am in the waiting room.
But I was the lead “calefare”, if there was such a thing.
I felt like George Clooney when my name was called out first that morning to receive my first Hollywood paycheck.
I was then ushered to the make-up department to have my hair done and my face made up. I do not know why they took such a long time with my face.
I was getting the hang of being a Hollywood star as I sat in my armchair in front of the multi-bulb vanity mirror.
The younger chap was to drive Colin’s blue Land Rover Defender, and I, his black Toyota Vellfire.
Since I was wearing my black suit and tie, I thought the Alphard was indeed more appropriate for me.
After all, my suit was custom-made and cost 3000 baht from Mahboonkrong, Bangkok, no less!
During rehearsals outside Changi Airport Terminal 3 building, there was a change of plans. I was no longer required to drive the black Toyota.
The scene was to start rolling with me already waiting for Colin and Araminta, Nick and Rachel coming out with luggage and balloons.
The weather was hot, and I was sweating in my expensive Sunday best (though it was only Tuesday).
But I had a personal makeup artist assigned to me to dab perspiration off my forehead and blow a portable fan at me. I sensed other “calefares” were envious. I could really get used to this.
Director Jon M. Chu then called out to start the shoot proper.
The stand-ins for Nick, Colin, Rachel and Araminta were released. And I was ready to be the next big name in Hollywood!
I grabbed the baggage from the trolley pushed by Nick and then the balloons from Araminta, after she took them from Rachel.
I was in the momentous part of the movie for a good thirty seconds – enough time to be talent-spotted for the lead role in the seventh Mission Impossible, replacing Tom Cruise.
There were six takes, one caused by me for mixing up my directions. It was actually hard work and even George would have been confused!
And so, I waited with bated breath for a year for the movie release.
Then in early August, I read about the Crazy Rich Asians premiere in Los Angeles. My invite to the red carpet must have been lost in the mail.
My friends knew of my starring role in the movie. I was waiting for them to ask me for my autograph after they have gone and watched it. But none came a-calling.
In fact, rumour had it that I was nowhere to be seen.
I refused to believe it, including my daughter who told me, “Daddy, sadly you are not in it, lah!” I was certain she was telling her first lie.
And so, I went to see it. I was waiting to be recognised by the popcorn and drinks staff, but apparently, they had not seen the movie.
After ten minutes into the film, I was ready to leave – Colin’s first-choice driver was nowhere to be seen at Changi Airport.
Sarjeet is now waiting for the remaining fourteen minutes and thirty seconds of his 15 minutes of fame.