A week after a horrific accident claimed the lives of three crew members on the sets of ‘Indian 2’, actor Kamal Haasan has appealed to the film’s producer, Subaskaran, to restore the confidence of the crew — including himself — so they can report back to work.
In a letter dated February 22, the Makkal Needhi Maiam leader said he wants to understand what steps the production team has taken to ensure the safety of the artistes, crew and other technicians involved in the shoot, and the kind of insurance in place for them.
“With a deep sense of anguish, I write this. The events that happened on the night of 19th February 2020 continue to haunt. People with whom we were laughing, eating and working together are no longer there and the realisation that they will never be back is most remorseful. I was just a few seconds and fewer metres away from the spot where the mishap occurred and miraculously escaped from joining the list of fatalities. I can hardly express my trauma and agony in words,” he said.
On February 19, a crane holding heavy lighting equipment snapped during the shooting of a fight sequence for ‘Indian 2’. Three crew members, including assistant director Krishna, art assistant Chandran and production assistant Madhusdhan Rao, were crushed to death, while 10 other technicians were injured. Apart from Haasan, director Shankar and actor Kajal Agarwal were also at the spot, but escaped unhurt.
Based on the complaint from assistant director Bharath Kumar, the Nazarathpet police lodged an FIR against crane operator Rajan under various sections of the IPC. The crane operator went absconding for some time, but was arrested Friday, just hours before the case was transferred to the crime branch.
“Any loss, cost, damage, risk undergone on account of the production team falling to carry out what they ought to have carried out has to be compensated in full and at the earliest. As producers you should ensure the best of medical help to each of those who have been admitted and provide the affected families your utmost support during the time of the need both financially and emotionally,” Haasan said.
A few days after the crane accident, FEFSI President RK Selvamani slammed the studio for lack of empathy towards union workers and said they had decided they would co-operate with studios and the production houses only if they agree to certain guidelines.
He said filmmakers need to ensure high levels of safety if they want their product to be on par with global cinema. “Any equipment which is not in industry practices will be used only after our approval. The operator and crew will need to understand each other before shooting sequence. There should be safety measures and insurance cover for workers in the studio. Every studio should have an ambulance and a first-aid centre,” Selvamani said.
In the letter, Haasan further said that responsibility doesn’t end with providing compensation. He added that accidents like this can only destroy the confidence and belief of the entire unit in the production team.
“You should ensure implementation of all guidelines on safety and institute an audit process to asses safety standards at shoot locations before the commencement of any shoot. Only by such positive and proactive steps, the production team can demonstrate its diligence in adhering to safety requirements and thereby restore the confidence of the cast and crew (including me) to report back for shoot,” Haasan added.
On Thursday, after visiting the affected victims at the Kilpauk hospital, Haasan announced he would provide financial assistance of Rs 1 crore to the families of the deceased and the injured.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines