A lesson on stunts

Stunt man Hassan Raghu.

Stunt man Hassan Raghu.  

Stuntmen are at great risk on the sets of films as they are always safeguarding the film artists. However, if it has become possible for even such artists to jump from any height or perform similar spine-chilling stunts, it is because of safety ropes and other protection measures improvised over a period of time.

``Stunts can also be handled effectively in common life and sometimes, it can make a difference between life and death,'' says Bangalore-based Hassan Raghu, who has been conducting the "Indian Traditional Fights, Fencing and Stunts Programme'' at the National School of Drama here since 1995 and who has worked as Stunt Director for more than 80 movies including international productions like "Blood Stone'' and "Blue Crystal''.

Here in the Capital to train a new batch of NSD students, Raghu, who also heads the National School of Film Stunts established in 1990 in Bangalore, informs that Eanadu-Television has recently approved an educative programme entitled "Aap Bhi Kar Sakte Hain'' on stunts for the common man based on a proposal submitted by him.

``In 1996, I did a serial in Hindi for Doordarshan national network titled `Action to Cut' which became very popular,'' says Hassan, who received a special award from the Karnataka Government for the Kannada film, "Accident'' way back in 1985. "I also worked as action director for `The Sword of Tipu Sultan,'' he says. Two more of his television projects include "Super Five'', an action-oriented children's television serial and "Tyag Veer'' based on the life story of Lord Bahubali in Hindi, both of which are under production.

Having started his career as a stuntman in the late Seventies, Raghu is well aware of the professional hazards faced by these backstage artists. "Things have improved considerably and as a technician who handles master of special effects in films these days, I am very much concerned about stunt safety''.

His emphasis on Indian traditional fights marks him out as different. "At NSD, I teach stage-fights and fencing as well as stunts. While gymnastics is the basis of all modern art, Indian traditional arts is more vast and ranges from sword and shield, stick fights, dagger, broadsword to army combat and stage and stunt shows,'' he says. "I bring my mini-trampoline jump and demonstrate before students''.

Since traditional stunt scenes in films still involves great risk for the men who do it, Raghu is attempting to organise stuntmen all over the country and form them into a professional union. "Those who take to stunts as a career are basically illiterate and their rights are often overlooked. If a film artist gets hurt, a lot of hue and cry is made but if a stuntman gets hurt, it is no issue,'' he rues.

By K. Kannan

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