Lights, safety, action

Lights, safety, action

Acting is serious business and there are no two ways about it. From learning new languages and dialects to doing intense scenes, actors in Sandalwood are expected to be Jack of all trades. Be it jumping off a building or doing air kicks, there is a lot of work that goes into these high-intensity sequences for which actors have to often train in various combat skills.

Even as they take up martial arts and stunt sequence training, they do feel nervous at times when they head for the shoot. But they trust their training and the instructors on the set. Actor Chetan Chandra says that ‘practising hard makes the man perfect’. For his upcoming trilingual (untitled) project, Chetan is practising mixed martial arts that includes ‘wrudo’ (mix of wrestling and judo), jujutsu and ‘Muay Thai’. “I have been getting myself trained in these. I picked up these forms recently so that the upcoming project can be handled better,” he says.

“I always get shinbone injuries while shooting. It’s a tough process to keep oneself flexible and strong. Despite the safety measures, it is also your duty to keep a check on your safety and your co-actor’s safety,” details Chetan.

Gone are the days when actors were limited to running around trees and doing dance sequences, points out actor Ragini Dwivedi. “One has to fit in specifically to the demands of the script now. During ‘Ragini MMS’, I was learning taekwondo and kickboxing. Since the sequences included harnesses, I had to train accordingly,” she details.

Once people in the industry knows that someone is capable of doing high-intensity roles, the artistes are pushed to do more. “That is how the action-packed daring bike stunts in ‘Ranachandi’, came to me ,” she says. Ragini adds that it can be extremely challenging for a woman artiste to do such stunts. “The chances of a female artiste getting hurt are more,” she adds.

Actor Dhananjaya, who took up kickboxing along with intensive workouts for ‘Boxer’, feels that one has to be prepared for everything these days. “Though learning the skills in detail isn’t possible in a few months’ time, I remember shuttling between projects to learn the important techniques. I had to learn it to get the attitude that was required for the role and to match the character,” he says.

While some movies demand actors to be lean, others look for a more athletic version. “This transition can be very challenging. The diet changes accordingly and there is additional stress to attain the end results,” says Dhananjaya. Getting injured in fight sequences is common and for Dhananjaya, it was a test as he got injured during another shoot. “To be frank, we do have a fear of getting injured. But training oneself to combat the situation is the best way to go,” he says.

Despite all the training, proper safety measures need to be taken during shootings, says stuntmaster Thriller Manju. Today, artistes like to do their scenes themselves even if they are risky. Since each shot is structured differently, the precautionary measures differ accordingly, adds Manju.

“When an artiste is required to jump from a building which is about 30 to 50 feet high, around 500 cardboard boxes should be laid out on the ground,” he explains. In scenes which include a speeding car and an actor doing sprints in the air, a hydro crane along with pulleys is used.

“Also, a bed should be placed where the actor lands, to protect him from injuries. When a shoot is planned on mud, I make a pit which is 30x30 ft and two-ft deep. Beds are placed inside it, layered with tarpaulin sheets and covered with mud.”


After the tragic incident that happened on the sets of ‘Masti Gudi’, the industry has been more careful about safety measures. “When doing a helicopter scene, if the depth of the water is 100 feet, then the helicopter must be 150 feet above the water level. Since ropes can’t be used for a helicopter scene due to the rotating blades, there should be around four to five safety boats nearby. With the advancement of computer graphics, these boats can be easily removed from the scenes,” says Manju.

Though many artistes take extra care to learn new things, some come directly to the sets to do the sequences. “Regular practice sessions should be held before the actual shoot.

They should take up some basic fight lessons and ease themselves out before shooting the actual scenes. Artistes like Shivanna always make sure that they know all the nuances expected of them before they do the actual scenes,” adds Manju.

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