I was excited when Colors approached me to be a part of this season of Khatron Ke Khiladi. I’ve been a huge fan, and watched the previous seasons with Akshay Kumar and Priyanka Chopra. It’s home ground for me because I am a stuntwoman by profession. I don’t get scared of
jumping off buildings, crashing bikes or racing cars. But yes, being on the show I did go through a different kind of mental torture — that of competition from others and timing my stunts perfectly. In films you get a couple of takes before the action director okays the stunt but on the show, it has to be in one go. There are no retakes. But I faced problems with underwater action sequences. A while back, while shooting for a television show, I had to plunge into the water for an actor. I did that but somehow I got tangled in the weeds and couldn’t come up. Since then I’ve had a psychological block about water related stunts.
I wasn’t always a stunt girl. Once upon a time I was a simple, salwar kameez-clad, girl-next-door who was married off at the age of 15 by her aunts. I lost my mother at a very young age, and with four brothers and sisters to look after, I was given away. Although I have two kids, the marriage didn’t work out. A divorced, single mother of two has to fend for herself. I was really lost — I had barely passed out of Class X and was not qualified enough to do anything. But I always knew one thing about myself that I’m fighter. I decided not to be scared, to look forward, and be fearless. Life is beautiful, and I chose not to carry the burden of a defeatist attitude but carry the attitude of a fighter. So, I went in search of work. First, I started as a dancer in films, but on seeing my bindaas (carefree) attitude, a lady approached me and asked me if I wanted to be a stunt girl. What started as a shauq (hobby) turned into my bread and butter. It’s been six years and I’ve pulled off stunts for actors such as Deepika Padukone, Parineeti Chopra, Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu in films such as Chennai Express, Hasee Toh Phasee, Ragini MMS, Welcome, Corporate, Singh Saab The Great and Lamha. I make good money. I am able to look after my kids, and live independently. But yes, it comes with its side effects. One has to work really hard to keep fit. One should also be seen around because the more visible you are, the more work you will get. And then there are the injuries. Yes, it hurts — we suffer from lots of cuts, bruises and broken bones. There have been instances where I’ve fainted also but you have to carry on and you can’t say no. It’s challenging to stand in the scorching sun for hours, wearing make up because you are the stunt double for the leading lady. And you have to do all this and also look the part, which is difficult, as these days female actors barely weigh 45 kg.
Television has given a platform to dancers, singers and actors. With Khatron ke Khiladi, finally female stuntwomen are also getting a chance.
(Written by Geeta Tandon)