Naushad Abbas started out as a stuntman in Ramesh Sippy’s Bhrashtachaar (1989). Soon he acquired a reputation for being able to perform risky stunts such as falling off a cliff on his cycle as Aamir Khan’s body double in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander and breaking through a glass door as Shah Rukh Khan’s body double in Baazigar.
He has worked in hundreds of films since, and has established himself as an actor-stuntman. He will soon be seen in upcoming films Lamhaa, Dhobi Ghaat and Dum Maro Dum.1. I started out 20 years ago aiming to become an actor, following in the footsteps of Jackie Shroff, who was from my neighbourhood, and even did a Gujarati film. But I realised it wasn’t easy to become an actor, and ended up becoming a stuntman as there was scope of acting in that profession too.
2. People don’t hire stuntmen until they show some ‘daring’ (courage). I once did a stunt as a double for Ashok Saraf where I got hit by a fast-moving car. That made me reputed as a guy willing to take risks, and got me work everywhere.
3. I’d watch lots of movies and take tips from senior stuntmen because you can’t train to fall from roofs of buildings. My training came from watching and learning. I also made sure never to hesitate or say no when asked to do a risky stunt. Once people see you hesitate, you get labelled as a coward.
4. Though I bear a resemblance to Jackie Shroff, I made it a point not to dress or act like a particular actor because I didn’t want to be a caricature of someone. I kept my body fit so I could be a double for everyone from Akshay Kumar to Shah Rukh Khan — because only the fittest stuntmen get to work with the best actors.
5. I kept working as an actor, because stuntmen have shelf lives. I displayed my skills often and came to be known as one of the few actor-stuntmen. So I played the villain’s henchman in many movies. I also capitalised on industries that were doing well — I have acted in many Bhojpuri movies and Hindi TV serials — to last as long as I can.