Rahul's brush with death - Bollywood negligence at play


By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Nov 3 (IANS) Rahul Bose had a near-fatal accident while shooting an aerial stunt for Samar Khan's "Shourya", and it puts a big question mark on the whole issue of safety during the shooting of the films in India.

The accident happened Thursday. It was only later that Rahul realised how dangerous the situation was.

"I had signed a disclaimer. And no action would've been taken against anyone if something had happened to me. It was complete negligence," Rahul told IANS.

The stunt seemed innocuously adventurous to begin with.Rahul said: "I had to do bungee jumping for Samar Khan's 'Shourya'. It is my character's introductory scene. And I had never done bungee jumping in my life. I'm very sporty and have done a lot of adventure sports and I didn't mind trying it out.

"These guys were from a Bangalore-based company called AWA Stunt Crew. They confidently told me that in the 12,000 jumps they've orchestrated so far, nothing has gone wrong."

Confident and exhilarated, Rahul took off.

"They took me a hundred feet off the ground by crane. After two practice jumps they took me up in a cage and told me to be calm and breathe deeply."

Then the camera rolled... and calamity struck.

"I'm facing the camera which is on top of me. Then I fall backwards facing the camera in a swan-like swoop. A second camera had been set up to trace the arch of my fall. I leap off, and one foot down... I'm stuck! I look down frozen in descent and I see this yawning chasm.

"Later I got to know I was 499 feet above ground level. Then I hear the guy above me say, 'Oh shit, the harness has got stuck on the camera. Do you want me to let you go or pull you up? Suspended in mid-air I wonder what letting go means! I thought, 'My family can't have two deaths in one week.' (His father passed away recently).

"They pull me up. And I decide I won't try the stunt again, at least not with those Bangalore experts who claim to have done 12,000 smooth bungee jumps. I realised later that those guys were completely freaked out by what happened to me. I declined to do the stunt again and returned to Mumbai. If something had given way, what then?" said Rahul.

Accidents are quite common on film sets. Ayesha Takia hurt herself while giving a train shot for Nagesh Kukunoor's "Dor". Vivek Oberoi fractured his leg while doing a stunt in Kolkata for Mani Ratnam's "Yuva".

Worst happened on Kaizad Gustad's "Mumbai Central" set - his assistant Nadia Khan was hit by a train when she was preparing a shot and died on spot.