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Sunday, November 20, 2016

travails of stuntmen ~ those who risk their lives for income and fame of others

In every climax, it would invariably happen ! ~ the hero would perform something impossible, an auto chase, burning car, fast train, jumping from air and more – hero would leap into villain’s vehicle.  Fans would rejoice – would keep discussing that no other hero could fight so well – most know that most of the risk was undertaken by some lesser mortal whose name may not even figure in the cast; worser still, would remain uncared for if involved in an accident and got injured.

Long ago, waiting in an hospital, closer to nighttime, a van arrived and out in the stretcher was a youngman with bleeding injuries all over – some stuntman who had performed breaking a glass door, flying through it ! ~ stunts in films would include car crashes, bike accidents, bombings, falls from heights, getting thrown out of fleeting horse and more. no need to tell that there is inherent risk in all stunt work .. .. .. overheard that the hero in the movie, when a scene of kicking on the face was to be filmed, lifted his foot shortly, asked the camera man to take a shot from a pit ! 

Life perhaps has never been easy for those stunt performers – right from the early days of movie making to modernised methods of date. In India, they are generally uncared for and do not even get proper insurance protection – as this is one excluded risk.  Still, most performers do not have a choice – it is not attitude, but often driven by the only way they know to earn money.  Attitudes to risk are source of income and yet it may not be proportionate or paying all the time.  These are the men who put their lives for the original hero to get applause and rise to greater heights.  They do not get any awards ! – but ensure that the ones for whom they double-up earn millions !!

Recently, in a tragic turn of events, two Kannada actors died after a movie stunt went horribly wrong at Tippagondanahalli Lake in Bengaluru.The actors were filming the stunts for an upcoming film ‘Masti Gudi,’ which stars Duniya Vijay in the lead role. While filming the scene, Vijay and the two actors, Anil and Uday, jumped into the lake from a helicopter. While the lead actor swam ashore, the other two didn’t surface for a long time, post which a search party was immediately dispatched. While a team of expert swimmers tried to recover the two actors, they could not retrieve anything. A safety harness was provided to the lead actor but none were provided to the other two. The two had even confessed to not being good swimmers before going into the shot. Previously, yesteryear’s Malayalam superstar Jayan had also died in a helicopter accident in 1980 during the making of the film, ‘Kolilakkam’. Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan received a near fatal blow, while filming a crucial action scene for his cult film, Coolie.

Many people condemned the carelessness with which the stunt shooting was carried out —  questions were raised about the safety measures undertaken while shooting a stunt of this proportion. The film production unit could procure a chopper for the shoot, paying a hefty amount, but did not have a motor boat to save the actors. Both the stuntsmen had  admitted to a TV channel before the shoot that they were not good swimmers, had a phobia of heights and that they had never gotten into a helicopter before. Perhaps they were not provided of details of the stunt and risk.  It is further stated that the permission to shoot at the reservoir was only to use the bank and surrounding area, not for jumping into the water. There was no permission for aerial shooting. The actors were bare-chested, showing off their abs, for continuity, hence could not be provided with safety jackets.

.. .. if we are inclined to say that Indian tinseldom is bad ~ World-over it is not much different.  Today MailOnline reports that James Bond stuntman and SAS hero was  killed in an abseil race after plunging 300ft from a helicopter in China.

Steve Truglia had appeared in James Bond movies Tomorrow Never Dies and the World Is Not Enough, as well as Saving Private Ryan.  The stuntman, from East London, died on Thursday after the abseil stunt in Chongqing, southwest China, went wrong. The 54-year-old - who once described being a stuntman as the 'best job in the world' - won awards in parachuting and mountaineering and held the world record for the fastest 100m abseil.

Friends said Mr Truglia and another stuntman were meant to be abseiling from the helicopter at the same time. Hours before his death, he had raised concerns it might not be big enough to take their combined weight, according to the Sun. His former military colleague, Phil Tunnicliffe, said: 'We have not been able to find out much about what happened. He had meant to be attempting the stunt on Tuesday above the Wulong National Park but it had been put off until Thursday because of heavy mist and fog. 'All we have been told is that there was a fall, but that does not make sense to us. Steve was a professional stunt man and had done these types of abseils many times. He added: 'It was 34 years ago we were at RAF Brize Norton doing our basic military parachute course. 'When I heard the news I phoned him and left him a message, it was something I just felt to do, I also sent him a text.'

In the message which he wrote on Facebook, he said: 'I can't believe you are gone mate, a part of me just died. You were my best friend and brother for 36 years. It hasn't sunk in that I'll never see you again. 'One thing is certain I'll treasure the memories and never forget you.'  Mr Truglia, who died on Thursday, was a member of the Barking and Dagenham Canoe Club.  Mr Truglia's girlfriend was informed of his death via a text message from a Chinese woman.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Nov. 2016

PS : An abseil (meaning "to rope down"), also called a rappel after its French name, is a controlled descent of a vertical drop, such as a rock face, using a rope. Climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection. Rescue teams are also known for using this method as a way to access injured or stranded victims.

1 comment:

  1. I hope they can come up with a good working payment package to all the stuntmen our there. Their job is not easy and most of the time they take all the pain and injuries from the actor and actresses themselves. That's why I really admire the stuntmen whose stories written at for risking their life and a job well done.