On Monday, when two actors Raghava Uday and Anil drowned while shooting an action sequence for a Kannada film near Bengaluru, John Abraham was extremely disturbed.
“I take this pointless death of the two actors very personally. This accident is horrific, shameful and avoidable. I belong to the same space where action scenes have often put me in very dangerous places. In fact I was off my feet for months recently after I fractured my leg doing a stunt for Force 2. I know what it is like to risk your life. Anything can happen to an actor who does these daredevil stunts,” says John emotionally.
On Tuesday morning he posted a video on a social networking site showing him with his injured foot in a hospital.
Explains John, “After I heard about what happened to those poor unfortunate boys in Bengaluru I decided to post the video. I wanted people to see the pain that we actors have to go through when a stunt goes wrong. I got a friend to shoot the video secretly as we were not allowed to shoot in the hospital. But somewhere I wanted a record of the pain I went through for future reference.”
What John Abraham finds appalling is the negligence. “I believe one of those boys who drowned clearly told the producers he couldn’t swim properly. There was no proper permission for them to jump in the lake, no safety measures. I think the producers should be held culpable. This is human lives we are talking about. How can someone’s life be taken so lightly?”
John Abraham says action heroes have a lot to be scared about. “It’s okay when safety measures are taken. In my case when I perform dangerous stunts, I make sure the optimum safety is ensured. I not only ensure my own safety during stunts I also make sure the others doing stunts with me are safe. When I was shooting stunts with Varun in Dishoom I would check my harness as well as Varun’s. I am also insured against injury and I recommend all actors should do the same.”
The blast action hero admits doing one’s own stunts is a non-negotiable option. “After I was laid up with a badly fractured leg while performing stunt for Force 2—I could’ve lost a leg—do you know what was the first thing I did after recovery? I had to kick in and break a door in Dishoom….with the same leg that I had injured.”
John feels action in our films need to be taken more seriously. “I don’t think stunts on our films can be taken lightly any longer. Gone are the days when heroes could do two back-flips and get applauded for it. Today’s audience is educated in world cinema. They know when we are faking a stunt. Body double nahin chalega. Besides in my case looking at my size finding a body double would be rather tough. So yes, I’d rather do my stunts myself and ensure the risks are minimized.”
He pleads for action to be given its due status in our films. “If you ask a lay person to name five choreographers he will rattle off six names. But ask him to name five action directors he will be stuck after Veeru Devgan, Shyam Kaushal and Allan Amin. We guys who do daring action take risks with our lives. At least grant us the respect we deserve.When we actors injured ourselves almost lose our lives for two minutes of thrill, what do we get in return? An anxious producer wanting to know when we can return to shooting.”