Accidents on sets: Occupational hazard or lack of safety measures?
First month of 2016 isn't over yet, and four actors have hurt themselves. With a rise in the number of accidents on the sets, we speak to filmmakers and action directors to decode the reason behind it
Movies may be about make-believe but these are for real. Hrithik Roshan recently suffered a ligament tear while doing an action sequence for his upcoming period drama, 'Mohenjo Daro'. The star has been advised rest for at least a fortnight (Read More). In the last couple of months, multiple actors, who were pulling off stunts on the sets, have been left reeling in pain.
Hrithik Roshan is the fourth actor to have been injured this month so far.
A few days ago, Shahid injured his finger during a fight sequence for 'Rangoon', bringing the shoot to an abrupt halt. Before that, Tiger Shroff hurt his back while filming for 'Baaghi' and Aamir Khan sustained a shoulder injury on the set of 'Dangal' in which he plays a wrestler. And let's not forget how the Abu Dhabi schedule of Rohit Dhawan's 'Dishoom' was delayed after John Abraham had to undergo surgery for a bad knee last October (Read more).
In view of the repeated mishaps on sets, hitlist speaks to some filmmakers and action directors, particularly, since the latter is the first to be blamed:
Where's the expert?
Although action directors understand the science behind shooting a perfect action scene, an action instructor ought to be on set to avoid untoward incidents, says renowned stunt director Allan Amin. “When you shoot abroad, you will spot one person who looks after the safety of stunt performers as well as the entire unit. But, in India we do not have that safety instructor. I am hoping that, eventually, filmmakers here will also start getting safety instructors. They are trained for the job and ensure 100 per cent safety on the sets,” adds Amin.
Matching up to Hollywood
Action director Shyam Kaushal, who is currently working with Aamir Khan for 'Dangal', believes that getting hurt on set is a part and parcel of the profession and should not be taken in a negative way.
"When a talent has to run, jump or perform an acrobatic scene, there are chances that he or she might get hurt. It is the same with sportsmen too. They also get hurt on field. Similarly, these talents have chosen a profession in which they might get hurt while performing a stunt or action scene," he explains.
However, Kaushal claims that there has been a lot of improvement in terms of safety measures followed by the industry. "We make sure that the actors are well prepared before filming an action or stunt scene. Plus, we do ensure the presence of a physiotherapist on set. At times, we change the scenes if a stunt appears extremely difficult to pull off or one in which safety might be compromised. But, often, we take pride in pulling ourselves down and say that Hollywood is superior to us. But let me tell you, I have worked on Hollywood projects as well and the working conditions are the same," adds Kaushal.
Sabbir Khan, who is directing Tiger in 'Baaghi', claims that his production team always takes basic safety measures to avoid mishaps. "We make sure that the stunt performer is well prepared before pulling of a scene and that a medical team is available with us. Apart from that, we ensure that everyone on the sets in insured. The industry's safety standards have improved and it follows all safety norms of the West," he says.
Tiger Shroff performs a stunt while promoting 'Heropanti' (2014). PIC/NIMESH DAVE
Whether the industry is ensuring adequate safety measures or not is debatable, but an insider points out that mishaps lead to losses for the industry. "It is a loss firstly because a talent gets injured and at times, is out of work for a while. Second, when shoot schedules are delayed, producers bear losses. So, considering the increasing instances of people getting hurt, better safety conditions need to be brought in."
Arshad Warsi, who had hurt himself during the filming of 'The Legend of Michael Mishra' two years ago, feels safety is a priority area since most films these days have gravity defying stunts. "As actors, we do our best to make the shot look as authentic as possible and even the safety measures are adequate, but things can never be 100 per cent secure. There is always that slight chance of things going a tad off and that leads to injuries. Having said that, I believe the best of stunt directors are working in the industry; we have Hollywood stunt directors working here for so many films and the highest standards of safety are met, but one cannot discount error of judgment and that leads to mishaps at times. But that is all part of the job, I guess. This has always been an issue. Earlier, the stuntsmen used to get injured and now that the actors are doing stunts themselves, they are getting injured. While doing any kind of action scene, it should be mandatory for all production teams to have a well-equipped ambulance and a certified doctor on set."