He has been a stunt man for over 300 movies, and as an individual stunt choreographer, Ravi Verma has worked in more than 240 films across various languages.
Star actors like Dabangg star Salman Khan to Power Star Puneeth Rajkumar, and several top heroes in the business have learnt the tricks of the trade from Ravi.
Yet, not many know that working in films as a stunt specialist was an unexpected journey. He speaks to Bengaluru Chronicle about his exciting stunt journey, and his latest adventure, where he roped in specialist cyclists from France for a unique chase sequence for the film Happy Birthday.
“It was an unexpected entry. I did my schooling, and then started working — even as an auto-rickshaw driver! Fortunately, my uncle was already a known stunt choreographer in the Kannada film industry and my brother was also working with him. There was an opportunity to get into stunts and my brother pushed me into it. There was no looking back, since. I went through many a difficult phase as it is not easy, and requires risking one’s life on frequent basis,” reveals Ravi Varma.
When he joined the industry, most of the stunts, especially fights were done by people from Chennai. When he learnt the art, and after years of experience, Ravi started choreographing fights individually.
“It was a time when most such work was done by outsiders, later we thought we could do it ourselves too, and the field was ours to conquer,” he adds.
In a turn of fate, Ravi Varma was in huge demand across other film industries while working for star films like Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees, Salman Khan’s Jai Ho, Kick and a few more, and he is also all set to choreograph mega star Chiranjeevi’s 150 th film Khaidi too.
“My work in Power Star Puneeth Rajkumar’s Jackie was well-appreciated, and it is through it that I was noticed by choreographer turned director Prabhudeva and this led to my Bollywood connection where I got to work in films for Salman Khan, Shahid Kapur and others,” he says.
He feels that there is no huge difference in Bollywood or Sandalwood films, just the budget is huge for Bollywood.
“For instance, in Happy Birthday, which marks the debut of a newcomer Sachin. I suggested that we try something different in a chase sequence to Mahesh Sukhadhare. We got six professional cyclists from France, who performed so well that it became one of the highlights of the film. The cycle chase was done in a unique set up with cyclists going over walls with great mid-air stunts,” he recollects.
While he has been injured on countless occasions, Ravi Varma also had a close call while performing for Patela, and once he also fractured both his hands. And this made his mother extremely upset.
Ravi Varma has just finished working for the Tamil film Mission starring Vikram, and is all set to work for a film by Abbas Mastan in which the director is launching his son.
In Kannada, he has a series of film including Rajkumara, S/o Bangarada Manushya and many more to come. Let’s wish they are safe tidings are in store for namma stunt star.