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When Tom Cruise landed in Mumbai this past weekend to promote Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, he was greeted by the typical throng of hysterical fans. Except this time they weren't the typical throng of hysterical fans. They were paid extras.
For about $3 and a free lunch buffet, the organizers in charge of the Indian leg of the Tom Cruise Ghost Protocol World Tour (Cruise IV: Forever Cruisin') hired about 200 extras to gather outside of the Mumbai airport's VIP exit. The extras, holding signs that said things like "We Love Tom Cruise" and "Tom Cruises," unleashed their incoherent, elated howls when the actor made his appearance. Tom, for his part, tried to ignore the fans as much as possible while plotting a quick and graceful escape.
I'm not sure what sort of counter-reception these extras were expecting, but feelings were not hurt. In fact, most of them have no idea who Tom Cruise is.
“'Tom who?' one 'young artiste' said. "I don’t know who he is or what he does. We were told to come here by 1pm today and wait for a foreign VIP to come out of the airport gate and scream and shout when he came. None of us know who Tom is."
So why did this happen? Given Cruise's famed sensitivity/Napoleon complex, that may not be such a difficult question to answer. What's more baffling is this editorial aside in an article about the event:
"Given that the absolutely handsome Cruise of the disarming smile has a huge fan base in the country, thanks to some really great and popular cinema... it would not have taken much to get more than half the city's population to converge at the airport or any venue to catch a glimpse of the star they love and adore."
How, in a city of more than 12 million people, are there not at least 200 fans willing to ambush "the man of the disarming smile" at an airport?