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Stuntmen, the unsung heroes of Bollywood

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Posted: 10 September 2011 at 11:16pm | IP Logged
Stuntmen, the unsung heroes of Bollywood
Mumbai: Even as action choreography in Bollywood is getting more sophisticated by the day, those who choreograph stunts for the stars, are still the unsung heroes of the film industry.

Action sequences are one of the main ingredients of a typical Bollywood film, be it action, thriller, comedy or romance.

On-screen action has always allured the Indian audience and popularity of stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar, among others, is further enhanced with the stunts they perform on screen.

However, the people who bring the action alive on the celluloid, remain behind the curtains, even though they not only in provide a visual treat to the audience through stunts, but contribute in transforming actors into stars.

"Films like 'Wanted', 'Dabangg', 'Singham' running successfully at the box office shows that audiences love action. These films have changed the scenario of action, seems there is a new trend. It is a positive phase for action movies as more films of this genre are made," ace action director Sham Kaushal, who won international acclaim for 'Slumdog Millionaire', told PTI.

"I feel overall package of the film should be good. Only action won't work. There has to be a balance of everything--emotions, drama, comedy, etc," Kaushal said.

Film like 'Dhoom 2' was not just about bikes and bikinis. but it had action like never appeared in Bollywood and its all down to one man -- Allan Amin.

"Scenario of has action changed with movies like 'Dhoom 2', 'Race' etc. In my forthcoming films 'Force' and 'Players' you will see a new style of action. Everything will look real and stylized. I have increased action standards," ace action director Allan Amin said.

The evolution of technology is taking action to a spectacular level even as business of action is getting safer.

"Technology-wise, we have improved, we have apparatus like harness, wires, enhanced cameras, etc," stuntman Ramesh Singh said, who has done stunts for films like 'Lal Baadshah', 'Drona', 'Mere Brother Ki Dhulan'.

"If you have safety equipments, then actors will have confidence in doing stunts. Hero is saleable, so his protection is essential," ace action director and President of Movie Stunt Artists Association, Tinu Verma said.

Citing an example of action scenes, Kaushal says, "In 'Om Shanti Om' we had a fire stunt, fight scene between Abhishek and Vikram in 'Raavan' on a bridge, had anything gone wrong, within a fraction of a second, things would have turned ugly. Therefore, timing is important in stunt sequences."

But when it comes to action, safety can be enhanced but never guaranteed as there are several incidents where actors have hurt themselves terribly.

"Stunts are synonymous with risk. We do check safety apparatus, rehearse scenes, then actors perform," Singh said.

Kaushal, says, "There are some blind and calculated risks. Accidents do happen."

How can one forget Amitabh Bachchan's serious intestinal injury while shooting a fight scene for Manmohan Desai's 'Coolie'?

In the fight scene, Big B was required to fall onto a table and then on the ground. As he jumped towards the table, the corner of the table struck his abdomen and he was critically injured and even close to death, as some say.

"There are risks and challenges for us. We try to make stunts easy for actors," stuntmen Sanjeev Kumar, whose resume boasts of films like 'Slumdog Millionaire', 'Krrish','Om Shanti Om', said.

As Bollywood goes global, action choreographers feel one must not get inspired by Hollywood as taste and preferences of our audiences are different. They also feel that one area where the film-budget should go up.

Both Kaushal and Amin feel there is a need to increase the budget of our films for action.

"One area we need to improve is increasing our budget for action. The budget of our entire film is only the action budget of a Hollywood film," Verma said.

Carping that foreign action masters have encroached upon their territory, Verma feels Indian filmmakers must show loyalty towards their own men.

"For '' and 'Krrish' there is a foreign team. If we have people here why not give them opportunity, why bring foreign action master," Verma questioned.

"Despite the success of our action movies, it is sad that some people are turning to outsiders. They must give chance to prove our capabilities," he said.


Edited by Salmanayesha - 10 September 2011 at 11:18pm

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