Two Kannada actors reportedly drowned in a lake after 100-feet free fall from a helicopter during a high-octane shoot of a climax scene in Bengaluru. Stuntmen Anil and Uday, while shooting for the climax of Masthigudi, never surfaced after they jumped into the lake from a height of around 30 feet. Only the film’s lead actor, Duniya Vijay, managed to make out alive as he allegedly had access to a life jacket. According to reports, the stuntmen had no access to harness or life jackets.
It’s a tragic incident to lose a life in real to capture a moment for a reel show. To create more realistic and impossible stunts, the directors and actors have been pushing the physical boundaries to create something of an unimaginable scale. This is not the first tragic incident of the kind. Rewind 36 years and the incident that shook Mollywood and the entire nation was the tragic demise of Krishnan Nair, better known by his stage name Jayan. In an incident similar to what took place on Monday, the actor succumbed after an explosion during a shooting.
The film actor – an accomplished stunt performer of the 70s – had acted in over 120 Malayalam films. He was about to wrap up the shoot for the film Kolilakkam. The climax scene was being filmed on the shores of Sholavaram in Chennai on November 16. The action sequence was said to be a dangerous feat. The actor had to jump on to an airborne copter from a motorbike. IA production executive later said that the director accepted the shot in the first take but the actor insisted on “four re-takes” to reach perfection.
The production executive Kalliyoor Shashi, in an interview to Mathrubhumi, said that he was the only one who witnessed crash and saw Jayan taking his last breath.
“I ran towards Jayan. Most of the other people were far away. The fear of the petrol-filled chopper exploding was there in my mind. We carried Jayan to the car and drove to a nearby hospital. Though the doctor performed the surgery, the end came in the evening,” Shashi was quoted in the report as saying.
Though many conspiracy theories emerged about the death of the actor, Shahi dismissed them all.
Jayan got a rebirth in Malayalam popular culture when mimicry artists imitating him became popular on television. This soon spawned a bunch of movies too, with exaggerated depictions of his mannerisms and dialogue delivery.
While we can understand that lack of sophisticated technology might be a reason for the accidents in the 80s, in the modern times, with extremely safety measures in place, it comes as a shock how two Kannada actors fell to their death during shooting. With claims of negligence now emerging, it seems appropriate agencies might take action against the producers.