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The scene at the Mumbia, India, premiere of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol showed local fans worked into a frenzy by the mere presence of Tom Cruise — but one Indian paper says their excitement came at a price.
The First Bollywood reported that around 200 extras were given approximately 150 rupees a piece (or about $3) and lunch to look excited outside the local premiere.
Paramount Pictures, the studio distributing the film, says the talk is silly.
“Tom Cruise is a massive star and attracts huge throngs of fans as he travels the world promoting ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,'” said a Paramount spokesperson, in a statement first issued to to The Huffington Post. “The only people paid were performers who danced outside the venue. The idea that fans were paid to cheer is completely ludicrous and entirely false.”
Another Indian outlet, The Mumbai Mirror, reported that the company behind Cruise’s tour of the country, Wizcraft, hired a third party to pay fans to cheer Cruise at the airport when he arrived in the city, citing one unnamed extra who described the job.
“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,” he told the paper. “None of us know who Tom is.”
Wizcraft denied involvement, with one spokesperson saying, “We are not aware of this. Your information is incorrect.”
Cruise’s Mission: Impossible co-star, Anil Kapoor, echoed that he felt the outpouring for the U.S. star was sincere. “Tom Cruise coming to my country for Mission Impossible was an incredible event for the people of Mumbai,” he said, in a statement released by Paramount. “I’ve never seen that level of pure enthusiasm.”
Paid or not, Cruise spent a reported 2 hours shaking hands with fans outside of the Mumbai premiere, in between speaking with the media, where THR reports he mentioned his fondness for Indian film.
“I love watching Hindi movies,” he said. “There are many Hindi movies that come out every year but I do watch a few of them. (If offered a Bollywood film) I would never say no. I would love to do it.”
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