That Time I Was in an Indian Rap Video…

Just when Chloe and I were starting to think that we would have a simple day of wandering around Manali doing nothing (since everything was closed), a lady stopped us on the street and our whole day changed in a minute.

Because it was November, I suppose she didn’t have much option but to ask us, dressed in our boring hiking clothes, if we’d like to be extras in a rap video. I mean, seriously- we didn’t look the part. At first we were hesitant and every part of me was like “no no no, absolutely not!” But then she told us to get a rickshaw, she’d pay, and we’d get some lunch and talk about it- on her.

Well that was enough to convince us. I mean I could become a millionaire and I probably wouldn’t pass up a free lunch, and I was far from a millionaire on this trip. Plus there was the fact we’d run out of things to do (that we could afford) in Manali. When we showed up at the restaurant, there were a few other foreigners they’d wrangled up, sitting around having beers.

We were told we’d get free lunch 500 rupees if we just sat there, smoked chillums and drank beer. The song was about Malana Cream and we were supposed to be tourists enjoying it.

La La Land, That Time I was in an Indian Rap Video

Basically this hash from Malana is supposed to be the best in the world. Apparently you can’t get into the village it’s made in, as it’s heavily gaurded, even to buy a water. You have to be personally invited. People tell stories of foreigners going missing and Lonley Planet advises against visiting. I’ve heard there is an European and Isreali mafia presence in control, but hey, there’s mafia everywhere.

Avanti made the video about Malana, ala “la la land”, and dressed as a super- hero came to Manali searching for it. The premise was for him to ask all these other foreigners which way to go to find it.

He searches, we smoke, they film. That was about it.

music video himalayas kunal avantiit was superhero and comic book themed

We actually had to do two different takes of the same scene because one had to be “smoke free” to be able to play on VH1 India.

The song was “Malana ‘La La Land’” by Kunal Avanti, who was actually a good rapper from Bombay, although I didn’t love the song itself so much. I was actually surprised by how good he sounded!

music video himalayas kunal avanti

We got to get all “20 feet from stardom” when we sang back up… “la la la la, la la la, la la la la, la la”

I was asked at the beginning if I’d be interested in making some extra money to ride on the 4-wheeler with Avanti and his little person side-sick. Who could pass that up? Sadly, during shooting it was mutually decided that it was unsafe because he couldn’t reach the pedals. I didn’t get my extra five minutes of fame, or my additional 500 rupees.

music video himalayas avant kunarThe whole thing was kind of funny and an interesting way to spend the day. The people we met, including the kind directors, I still talk to occasionally today. We stayed up late enjoying the gifts from Manala and playing the board game Taboo.

My bill ended up being higher than what I made that day, so it was a wash. It definitely beat going on a hike down the same old path though.

I’d link the video, but it’s just embarrassing, although I don’t know why as I am barely in it, but I can’t have that nonsense on my site! If you’re so curious you can take the extra step to search it on YouTube. You really shouldn’t though. It’s just ridiculous. I mean my mom always told me not to go on MTV, but I’m pretty sure MTV India doesn’t count, right?

music video himalayas kunal avanti

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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Rashaad June 2, 2014 at 8:18 am - Reply

    Have you listened to a lot of Indian rap music? If so, what do you think of it, in general?

  2. S.Smith June 2, 2014 at 8:38 am - Reply

    I swear I just love your posts! They are very inspirational!

  3. Eileen June 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Hahahaha what a tease to not post the video!! Well, something you can knock off your bucket list I guess, great story!

    • Rachel Jones June 4, 2014 at 9:37 am - Reply

      haha, I figure if someone wants to see it they can do a little digging (and hopefully not find it) lol

  4. Justine June 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    That’s so awesome. What a random and memorable day. I mean how any people can say they’ve been featured in an Indian rap video? Great story!

  5. Karisa June 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    OMG this is so amazing! hahhah I love how random things like this can just happen when you’re traveling <3

  6. Helen in Wonderlust June 2, 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    I am sooooo looking for this on Youtube! I was once on Comic Relief on the BBC. I am NOT sharing that! :)

    • Rachel Jones June 4, 2014 at 9:36 am - Reply

      You’ve got to share! lol but saying that isn’t really fair considering I didn’t lol!

  7. Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling June 2, 2014 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Oh come on Rachel, as if we’re NOT going to look that video up. :p

    1:33 and 2:08, everybody. :D

    • Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling June 2, 2014 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      Whoa, do you know you’re in the La La Land making of video as well?

      • Rachel Jones June 4, 2014 at 9:34 am - Reply

        lol, no I did not! But i just searched it and found it. Is this bollywood? lol I’m so dumb.

  8. Chanel @ La Viajera Morena June 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    That sounds like a really interesting way to spend a day when traveling and a lot of fun :) – By the way, that teaser def makes me want to see the vid

    • Rachel Jones June 4, 2014 at 9:32 am - Reply

      muahha, I’ll never share it ;) I think it’s on their fb page though…

      • Chanel @ La Viajera Morena June 4, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply

        The screen capture gave it away ;) Funny vid!

  9. Hope & Sugar June 4, 2014 at 1:58 am - Reply

    I too once was an extra in a South Indian film song, which is way more embarrassing than this one… but they always make memorable life experiences! haha..

  10. Michelle June 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    ………..please post a link to the video :)

    • Rachel Jones June 5, 2014 at 10:25 am - Reply

      Well to be totally fair, I was going to after seeing all the comments, but now I can’t find it on youtube! I think it might be buried in their FB page.

  11. Lynda June 6, 2014 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Hahahaha this is AMAZING!

  12. Audrey June 8, 2014 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Oh my gosh, that album cover says it all! Haha, definitely one for the books! ;)

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