The whereabouts of stunt choreographer Ravi Verma is unknown even as he has not yet commented about the tragic incident in which two Kannada actors died while shooting the climax scene for the upcoming film, Mastigudi.
The death of Anil and Raghav Uday, two budding actors, have shocked the conscience of the film industry. It has again brought into question the safety measures taken to protect the lives of stuntmen who risk their lives for the entertainment of the moviegoers.
Several celebrities have expressed their shock, while condoling the death of Anil and Uday. Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor questioned the need of putting human lives at stake despite available VFX facilities in the country.
“RIP.Two stuntmen drown whilst filming a stunt from a chopper in a Kannada film. When VFX facilities available, then why endanger human lives?” he tweeted.
Rishi was not the first to question the rationality of the stunt after the actors openly expressed their discomfort about jumping off the chopper into the dam. Veteran actor and politician Ambareesh, while talking to the media, said that he doesn’t understand as to why the actors were made to jump into the dam even after they said they don’t swim well.
Actor Shiva Rajkumar, who visited Thippagondanahalli lake during the search operations, said that it was a wake-up call for the film fraternity. “We should not take lives for granted. We should not take this incident lightly. The film crew should have carefully thought through before doing what they did,” he said.
Another senior actor Jaggesh minced no words while condemning Ravi Verma, blaming his ‘stupidity’ for the deaths of Anil and Uday. Kannada filmmaker Dayal Padmanabhan took more aggressive stance against Ravi Verma, while holding him accountable for the tragedy, he sought for a ban on him.
“I will be appealing officially to Karnataka film chamber of commerce and producers association to ban stunt director Ravi Varma from the industry for his negligency attitude n unprofessional working pattern..! Hope this will save many more from the industry and also bring the professional discipline to other technicians related to their creative area..! Pls feel free to express your opinion..!” he posted on his Facebook account.
Not just members of the film fraternity, even public have expressed similar anger against the leading stunt director on the social media. Many have sought action by the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce against Ravi Verma.
Ravi Verma has worked in over 200 films in various languages. He has choreographed action sequences for all the Khans and many A-listers of Bollywood. Recently, he worked with Vikram for Iru Mugan and he has also been roped in to lend his expertise to Ram Charan’s upcoming film Dhruva.
Ravi Verma has also played a role in Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film Raees. He has played a role called Salim, a negative character, which is close to the leading man.
Ravi Verma has been booked by the police along with Mastigudi director Nagashekar, producer Sundar Gowda for culpable homicide under Section 304 of the IPC, which carries the punishment of up to 10 years in jail, if found guilty. Regardless of what happens, the tragic death of two actors under his watch will remain a blot on his decorated career.