Not mere stunts for stars and crew

DECCAN CHRONICLE | SHREEJAYA NAIR
Published Dec 24, 2015, 12:00 pm IST
Updated Mar 26, 2019, 3:10 pm IST
A series of near misses and accidents in Mollywood point to the risk involved while shooting the stunt scenes.
Tovino
 Tovino

Action films are thrilling to watch on screen. It is this popularity for the genre that has led to the increasing inclusion of such sequences in Mollywood. But accidents and injuries on set during shoot are also increasing as a result. Just in the past month, the Malayalam film industry saw four such accidents faced by director Vysakh during the shoot of Pulimurugan, Tovino during the stunt sequence of Style, Fahad during Maheshinte Prathikaram and Sajid Yahiya during Darwinte Parinamam. The stars and directors, however, claim these accidents are common place in almost every action and fight sequence shoot.

Actor Tovino, who met with an accident and injured his nose at the sets of Style recently, says, “We were shooting a chase sequence and driving down a beach road in Kollam. Suddenly, the car lost control and ended up crashing into the boulders on the side of the road. Because it was a sturdy car, I escaped with just some minor injuries. But compared to the history of accidents on the sets of Malayalam films, this was minor.” He adds that despite the best of precautions, some injuries are unavoidable. Tovino explains, “Even when we are running or jumping, we are more concerned about the camera's position that our surroundings and could easily fall and injure our spine or our head. Similarly, in the slow motion fight sequence, you simply have to take the hit for real or it will look fake on screen. The only option is to try and get the shot done in a single take to reduce the number of hits you have to take. Similarly, I and Unni (Unni Mukundan) were doing a fight sequence and in our effort to get the camera angle right, we missed our timing. My punch landed too hard on Unni and sprained him. You can opt for a body double, but if we do as many sequences as we can, we can commit our face. On the other hand, using a body double would mean a lot of cuts, which would compromise the aesthetics of the scene. Besides, though body doubles are more trained, the involved is still the same for them as well.”

 

Actor Sajid Yahiya, who recently sprained his neck during the shoot of Darwinte Parinamam, agrees. “When you are doing a stunt sequence, you are given protective gears to wear underneath your shirts, there are bedding provided for a safe fall and so on. But despite all these, injuries happen if you don't know how to land your fall. Trained professionals like body doubles know where and how to place their hands to break a fall, but actors do not get the same training. So I ended up falling and hitting my neck and sprained it.

Similarly, in a bike sequence where I was required to fall, I didn’t land properly and scraped my hands on the rocks outside the bedding. You can’t use protective gear where it is visible on screen. But I think providing training to actors would go a long way in avoiding these accidents. So would proper exercise on the part of the actors. We are not used to training for increasing flexibility in our industry. This is of utmost importance when you do stunt sequences. Most of the dangerous scenes are even otherwise handled by body doubles. So the most basic training and exercise are more than enough for actors.” Director Binu, whose previous film Ithihasa also had stunt sequences, says, “I have to be honest. We didn’t take any particular precautions apart from the usual stunt necessities and didn’t provide training. But in the end, I believe, the risk of these scenes is for the actors to decide for themselves. We only shoot those scenes that the actors are comfortable to do in a film or at least have it shot with a body double. So it’s finally their call. But of course, we as a team do everything possible to avoid accidents on location and provide the best and quickest care, if it happens. And that’s all that one can do really.

 

 

 

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