The Stunt Squad
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For the ongoing shoot of her superhero film Krrish 3, Kangna Ranaut trained in mixed martial arts for two months. The idea was to reach a level of fitness that allows her to perform action scenes on her own. While she has achieved that for most part, there are stunts which director Rakesh Roshan would not risk her safety for. This is where Sanober Pardiwala steps in. The 25-year-old is Bollywood's noted female stunt artiste who has, in the past, shot for several leading ladies including Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan in Dhoom 2 and Bipasha Basu in Race. "A filmmaker cannot risk an injury that will delay the film's shoot. So action directors hire female stunt artistes for risky scenes," explains Pardiwala.
With Bollywood heroes taking on daredevil avatars in sync with the current trend of action films, their leading ladies are hardly far behind. Rai-Bachchan has had action scenes in Jodhaa Akbar, Dhoom 2 and Raavan, Priyanka Chopra in Don 2 and Bipasha Basu in Players. Katrina Kaif was recently seen performing stunts in Ek Tha Tiger while Jacqueline Fernandez and Deepika Padukone have been training for their respective parts in Race 2. These women have been performing most of the scenes on their own, but stunt doubles come in handy for the more dangerous sequences. "While shooting for Ram Gopal Varma's Chakravyuh, I performed a scene that required me to jump from the second floor," says Geeta Tandon, a 28-year-old stunt artiste.
Still, female stunt artistes remain few in number and largely unnoticed. The reason, explains action director Allan Amin, is that most of them are untrained. "So they are relegated to small parts such as running fast or falling down." The ones to venture into this profession were mostly junior artistes who grabbed the opportunity that came their way. For instance, Tandon started as a background dancer but taught herself bike and car stunts.
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