Mumbai: Teen under police radar for deadly selfies from 75-floor building

Dec 01, 2017, 15:07 IST | Asif Rizvi

Urban free climber, who took selfies from atop buildings, takes down videos after inviting wrath of the police

Days after a 17-year-old daredevil came under the Mumbai Police's scanner after videos of him walking perilously on cranes of under-construction buildings without safety gear went viral on YouTube, the teenager, has realised the breach. He has taken the videos off social media and expressed regret for sending out the wrong message to the youth. In a chat with mid-day, Pranal Chavan said he wouldn't stop doing what he loves, but will now seek permission before performing stunts.

Pranal ChavanPranal Chavan's love for heights sees him breach security to climb high rises and record the moment. Pic/ Satej Shinde

Chavan, a first year mechanical engineering student, has been performing death-defying stunts in central Mumbai's under-construction buildings over the last few weeks. The Parel resident, who claims to be India's only urban free climber, sneaks into buildings with a selfie stick to videograph himself at the edge of parapets and cranes, which he shares on YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp.. He has filmed himself at three buildings in Worli and Lower Parel, including the proposed 75-storey Lodha The Park, and Worli Omkar 1973.

Chavan says he has no plans of giving up his passion. This despite the Worli polifce summoning him two days ago. "For now, I have deleted the videos from YouTube because I don't want to provoke anyone [into doing something similar]. I have realised it's illegal and involves a lot of risk. The next time, I will take prior permission from the police and will use safety gear," Chavan told mid-day.

Chavan first happened to watch someone perform a similar stunt on television. "I thought it was easy to do and wanted to try it. One day, I saw an under-construction building in Mahalaxmi and decided to climb to the last floor and made a video to preserve the memory," he said.

Pranal ChavanPranal Chavan, 17, seen taking selfie while standing perilously on a crane of an under-construction building

The adrenaline rush he experiences makes him want to try it again. "Several of my friends who watched the videos told me that it was life-threatening. I wish to tell people not to try it, until you have proper safety gear in place and permissions from the authorities," he added. Someone had also registered a complaint against him on the city police's Twitter handle three days ago.
The youth's mother Deviyani Chavan said she was aware of her son's love for adventure sports, but had little clue that he was taking it this seriously. "While I don't want to come in the way of his dreams, I won't advise anyone else to take this up unless they are qualified to do so."

Gajanan Desurkar, senior inspector at Worli police station said they have not registered a case nor made an official complaint against him.

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