Connect with us

Bollywood News

Catastrophe On the Sets: Is Alec Baldwin Going To Teach Our Filmmakers Some lessons In Safety?



Goodbye, Halyina Hutchins.  Long before Alec Baldwin unknowingly shot his  cinematographer  dead on the sets  of Rust (Rust in peace, indeed)  I realized we  in India need  to take immediate remedial measures to  prevent any catastrophe  on  the sets.

Years ago  I was  at  a  photoshoot with Salman Khan and Bhumika Chawla  when her  saree caught fire from a  diyah that  was lit next to  her. Within seconds her pallu was ablaze. I  watched frozen  on the  spot in horror  thinking of what we were witnessing there, when  suddenly someone –no it wasn’t Salman–had the  presence  of mind to stomp on the  burning  pallu.

Bhumika was saved. Was she  reminded  of this incident when Halyina  was  accidently  shot dead with bullets that were supposed to be blanks?

I remember another incident. This happened to my  (then) dear friend Sushmita Sen.We  all know she wears her hair  lose constantly. The  huge pedestral fan blowing behind her on the sets   of a  film  knew it too. Within seconds her hair was tangled in the blades  of  the gigantic horror-monster contraption.

 My  first  thought then was, who uses such obsolete  contraptions   on a modern  Indian  film set?

This was  a good twenty  years  after  a blaze  extinguished  52(?)   lives on  the set  of  Sanjay Khan’s  The Sword Of  Tipu Sultan. We never really got to know  where and  how the  fire started. There  was never any transparency on the issue. Years  later when  Khan was  asked about the horrific  episode  he  brushed off the  incident as  the work of  “Man or God”

That’s quite a staggering range, far broader than Mr Khan’s acting.

No lessons were learnt.  Indian filmmakers continue  to   shoot their  films under the most hazardous circumstances. And we are not talking about the new post-pandemic  dangers. Long before King Covid ruled the  universe,  unspeakable  risks were  taken on  film sets specially  in India. You may  heard  about some   of  the  more famous incidents  of near-catastrophes  on the sets. But let me tell  you the shocking  truth: most of  these incidents  are  hushed up, or every effort is made  to hush them  up.

If we begin to count the  number  of  unreported  lives which have been  lost on the  job  during film shootings in India we would  probably have to close down some  major production houses  in the  country.

I  remember some  years  ago when a  horse had died  during shooting I  anxiously called up the  film’s director who brushed  off the incident as  “one of those  things that can’t be helped…eggs  have to be  broken to make an  omelette.”

Right. But  whose eggs are  you breaking? That’s the  question.

The  Alec Baldwin  incident must not be treated as  an isolated one-off  event, better left behind and best to move  on.No.The entire movie fraternity  all  over the world should take  stock of the safety measures provided  on sets. To get that  perfect  shot  , filmmakers  are  known to go to ridiculous lengths.But at  what cost?

Repeatedly my heart goes out to Halyna’s family.What did her husband tell  their  son after she was  accidently shot? That Mommy is not coming home  after work today? That she may  be gone for a while?  Baldwin says he is “heartbroken” by the  incident. I  wonder  if he knows  how heartbroken  Halyna’s husband Mathew is  .

You  wanted your  perfect shot. You got   something else instead.

Continue Reading