Bollywood Stuntmen Dies in Noida
From jumping cars to sky diving, stunts in the Indian entertainment industry have come a long way. The recent death of stuntman Shailendra Singh Bisht in Noida has called industry safety standards into question once again.
Bisht, 30, was rappelling down a glass-walled mall last week when he lost his grip and fell to his death from a height of 40 feet.
On set mishaps are a constant threat–in Hollywood and Bollywood. Actor Rahul Bose had a near fatal incident while shooting an aerial stunt for Shourya, and Vivek Oberoi shook hands with death during Yuva. However, Bollywood’s most renowned accident victim was no less than the great Amitabh Bachchan, who nearly died on the set of Coolie. Bachchan’s near fatal intestinal injury ocurred during a fight scene with co-actor Puneet Issar. During the scene Bachchan was required to fall onto a table and then on the ground. However as he lunged towards the table, he struck his abdomen and ruptured his spleen.
Naturally, the incident has sent Bollywood into a frenzy as studios are besieged by media, bent on exposing poor safety practises.
Actor Vidyut Jamwal, who performed all action sequences in Force, said, “We do have stunt masters on our sets. In my case, we must have rehearsed the action scenes more than 10,000 times before rolling to avoid any consequences. We took eight days of training before going for the shot.”
Sanjay Gupta explained some of the practises for his latest flick Shootout At Wadala: “Usually, before we begin shooting, the production managers do their homework. They see to it that there are hospitals and doctors near the sets for emergency cases as it is not possible to have doctors on sets 24X7,” he added.
Karan Malhotra, who directed the Agneepath remake, says studios insist doubles are used for dangerous scenes. He states that although Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt were more than willing to perform the stunts Ageenpath, their safety came first: “Almost all the scenes in Agneepath were done by Hrithik and Sanjay themselves. Many of the shots are done by the stars wearing wires and cables for safety, but those were removed from screen while editing. For both actors, a lot of precautions were taken, including the use of body padding.”
Bollywood is also increasingly turning to Hollywood experts for advice and management when dangerous stunts are involved.
All the studio execs acknowledge the equipment and manpower is expensive–although possibly not so much as the legal suits and bad publicity when a life is lost. Hopefully the sad death of Shailendra Singh Bisht will improve the standards and safety practises in Bollywood for all concerned.