The tragic deaths of two Kannada actors has shocked and saddened people cutting across industries. Several stars have condoled the death of the actors, Anil and Uday, who drowned while shooting a chase sequence for a Kannada film on Monday.
The actors had reportedly jumped from a helicopter into a reservoir for the climax sequence of the film Masthigudi. They never surfaced after plunging into the waters from a height of around 30 feet.
On getting to know of the news, director Pawan Kumar penned on Facebook, his thoughts on the pressure and trauma a stuntman is subjected to. We reproduce here what he had to say on his Facebook post…
Since I heard about this tragic incident in the evening. I have been terribly disturbed. I had never met these two actors. Its probably the most disturbing video I will ever see.
It brought back horrid memories of 2008, when I was as an actor involved in a fight sequence. Lets keep aside safety factors. We are a third world country, we dont wear seat belts, we dont wear helmets, we don’t really do anything where we value our lives.
Today’s incident is not safety, bcoz that would come after we have crossed the level of ‘Stupidity’. We haven’t even crossed that. What has led to this tragedy is – MALE EGO. The invincible men that we are all expected to be in the society and of course more so in the movies.
What happens in these shooting sets is that.. everyone boosts your ego… starts telling you that its such a kiddy thing to do… tht its a cake walk.. even a Kid would do it…. why a man like you is doubting it. I have experienced this first hand.
My first film as an actor, with big dreams, with the “need” (not want… NEED) to succeed, and I am the lucky one amongst 1000s who has got that one chance to PROVE IT … to make it BIG. So I am telling myself that I am up for anything and everything. But my body knew my weakness, knew what I was capable of doing and what I cant just do. But as an aspiring actor I was telling myself that “Hey this is NOTHING, this really is NOTHING”… but as a human being… I was shit scared. I was not trained in fights. But there I was ready to be all beaten up by the Hero. I had to do it well. I had to own up to myself, I had to get back home and tell my parents and GF’s and relatives and friends… HEY I AM FREAKING SUCCESS. So.. YES… we do Sign up to crazy things… just for that reason.
To top that, on the set, people around us create this space where you can’t really show your fears… you’d be laughed at. YES, you will be ridiculed, made butt of jokes… worse… compared to a woman (U know what I mean… when I say that). Literally there is no space to tell “Hey, I am not sure I can do that. I am scared”. During my first fight shooting time, I had a make up assistant walk up to me and tell me… “Hey, be a man.” And suddenly, all my 8 years of theatre acting etc was all going to be judged on how daringly I will take those blows, how perfectly I will go fall on the floor, how I will go throw my body against a wall. Yes… I was judged by every single person the set. Everytime it didn’t come out right, and it was a retake, it was all my fault, it was – ah he is such a woman. (again.. U know what I mean by that)
I can’t complain. I signed up for it. I did put myself in that place. No one pushed me into it. So… I never spoke about this. May be I shared it with friends… and I said it in a funny way… so we all laugh about that situation. It was over and I had lived. I still talk about those days, and make people laugh. However, I was smart enough to know that I’d never put myself through those situations ever in my life. And thats how I became a director. I’d rather be aware of my limitations and move on than being dead.
That is exactly, what these two men would have done tonigh. If they were alive now, they’d NEVER have shared what they really felt when they were asked to do that sequence. What they felt when they were standing at the edge of the helicopter. They’d have been laughing and sharing the heroic moment… they’d say.. it was scary… but still with a laugh. Pretending to be THE MAN the society wants them to be. Because.. that is what makes them BRAVE, STRONG and HEROIC… which will get them more work. Being truthful about their real feelings would have made them a laughing stock.
What do you think made two non swimmers sign up to jump of a helicopter into a lake so deep. No… they weren’t stupid. We didn’t give them that space… to be vulnerable.. to open their mouths and say “Hey, I am scared, I can’t do it”. I think if there was one MAN on that set today… who had just considered them as human beings with limitations… and not as superman. They would have lived.
I think, what we have to learn from this tragedy is that… yes.. we have to have safety standards (which means budgets), we have to have common sense, but above all we need to have the sensitivity and the respect to treat each other as mere human beings. Let a man be a man… he can have 6 pack abs… that doesnt mean he is invincible…. unbreakable.
Lets be human to each other please… lets be sensitive enough to understand that everyone has a threshold… and it is OK to be able to do only that much.
And to conclude… to all my actors.. I hope I have treated u all with this sensitivity. A part of my head is always doing that.. always making sure… that I am not breaking you. And if you still felt like I pushed you more and didn’t give you that space to tell that to me… then I am terribly sorry. I will make sure I will be more aware of this.
Anil and Uday… we are sorry… I hope that the loss of lives will make us all… especially the ones on the film sets… more sensitive and respectful to each other.