[ Update: This article was amended at 12:50 pm, Thursday, November 10, 2016. The heavily decomposed bodies of both the actors have been found by the rescue teams. Raghava Uday’s body was found on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, identified by actor Duniya Vijay and Uday’s sister. Anil Kumar’s body was found on Thursday, November 10 2016. ]
“The stunts are performed under the guidance of professionals. Please don’t try this at home.”
This line pops up on the screen whenever a stunt scene appears in a movie or a TV series. For the safety of their viewers, TV channels display this warning on the screens. But what are the safety measures used when performing these stunts in real life during the shooting of a movie or TV series? Who is responsible when it comes to the protection of the stuntmen? Many incidents involving injured stuntmen have been reported over the years, which raises questions about the safety measures on the film sets.
Most recent of such tragic events is the news of the deaths of young Kannada actors Raghava Uday and Anil Kumar.The two men drowned while shooting an action sequence for a Kannada movie after they jumped off a helicopter into the Thippagondanahalli reservoir, about 40 km from Bengaluru, on November 7, 2016. The motorboat stationed on the banks to pull the actors out of the water developed a last minute snag and remained ashore, resulting in the tragedy.
The seasoned stuntmen were shooting the climax scene of “Masti Gudi” on Monday. As a part of the shoot, the duo jumped along with Duniya Vijay, the protagonist of the movie into a reservoir. While Vijay made it to the shore swimming , the other two didn’t. They are presumed to be dead now as their bodies have still not been found.
The entire film industry and public are condemning the carelessness of the crew regarding safety measures. The stunt cost Rs1.2 crore and while the film production spent a hefty amount to rent the chopper, they did not have a properly working rescue boat. The stuntmen admitted in an interview prior to the shoot that they did not know to swim, and had fear of heights, and also that they have never been in a helicopter before, which was also reiterated by Uday’s sister. They were clueless about the stunt since it was not fully discussed in detail before.
The video clearly shows that Vijay, a top star of Kannada film industry had a life jacket on him while the two ill-fated stuntmen didn’t. Officials from the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) said that the crew had permission to only shoot at the reservoir bank and the surrounding area. They didn’t have permission for aerial shooting, much less jumping into the reservoir, which had accumulated silt. Despite finding it difficult to swim in the life jacket, Vijay was rescued but it proved fatal for the other two. The incident is tragic and has happened due to negligence and carelessness in safety precautions.
This incident should really propel the industry to rework their safety procedures. The should haves, would haves, compensations, gestures can be discussed at length, but nothing can justify the death of the two young men with a promising future.
The Logical Indian feels that it is high time to start serious work towards integrating Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) measures into every single workplace. While we look to the west for inspirations for fashion, food, travel, business ideas, we should also take the inspiration to implement strict OHS rules in all businesses, small and big.