With the arrest of the crane operator who was operating the crane that came crashing down on 19 February on three crew members of Shankar’s Indian 2 , the question of safety measures on the sets of film locations has popped up again. Apparently director Shankar and leading man Kamal Haasan are likely to be called in for questioning soon.
While most of the Tamil film industry is silent on the safety/non-safety issue a young filmmaker admitted on condition of anonymity that rules of safety areflouted on film sets. “Everyone wants the scenes to be done quickly, so that they can go home. Yeah, rules are flouted. Nothing new about it.”
Says director Raj Nidimoru , one half of the Raj-DK duo who directed Go Goan Gone and Stree, “The incident on the sets of Indian 2 was very unfortunate and horrific . Safety is not something that’s foremost in the minds of many… and there’s no value for life. Most of the things are done in a jugaad way. There are too many people doing too many things on the set. Crowded crew leads to chaotic approach on the set. A lot of processes can be streamlined with safety in mind. This is where I feel the film bodies/unions come in. They need to sit along with producers and figure rules and guidelines on the set, keeping safety in mind.Every stunt is a risky stunt. It’s about first creating a safe environment and right people doing the right job, and at the right equipped place. It’s not about winging it. It’s not about ‘Hojaayega… karlenge’.
Kamal Haasan has been a victim of several on-location including 34 bone fractures in the line of duty.
Recalling his most serious injury Kamal Haasan had said, “In a Tamil film, ‘Kaligan’, I did an action scene in a subway. Again, it was a relatively easy sequence. But a car sped up and hit me smack on my spine. I landed on top of the car. Then, when it halted, I went under the wheel. I dislocated my jaw, my nose was cracked and I had three fractures. I thought I’d never walk again. That’s when I made a comedy called ‘Ladies Only to feel better.”
Then again while shooting a Hindi comedy Mumbai Express Kamal Haasan was shooting with a child actor on a motor cycle when the vehicle turned turtle. To protect the child from injury Kamal Haasan took the full brunt of the fall.
Asked if it was worthwhile to take such risks for a few minutes of thrills, Haasan replied: “Funnily, nothing happens in the really risky shots. Accidents happen in the unlikeliest of places.But, yes, we actors tend to follow Steve McQueen’s policy: ‘Why use a body-double when you’ve a good body?'”