What’s common between Madhuri Dixit, Rajinikanth, Katrina Kaif, Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone? Apart from being big stars, they belong to the bunch of daredevils who love doing their own stunts.
While some do it for the thrill of it, others want to build it as their strength without being dependent on body doubles, say industry insiders. “Fitness levels are very high for most actors these days, so they don’t want to take help from body doubles. Moreover, they can dare to take that risk now because we have very sophisticated and safe harnesses nowadays. The stunt directors are also more skilled now,” says director Soumik Sen of Gulaab Gang, which saw actor Madhuri Dixit perform all her own action scenes, right from jumping into a moving truck to doing tough martial arts.
“Even while dancing, one ends up getting injured ... so it’s okay,” Dixit was quoted as saying.
Katrina Kaif, Shah Rukh Khan and Rajinikanth, too, have done all their own action scenes for their upcoming films, Bang Bang, Happy New Year and Kochadaiyaan, respectively. Harman Baweja, who, too, has performed the stunts in his upcoming movie without any body double, says, “Doing my own stunts gives me an adrenaline rush. I fall, I get injured, I put some ice and then I go for it again.”
Director Anand L Rai feels that the change has also got to do with the fact that the focus has shifted from technical action scenes to portraying real emotions. “It’s not just about the stunts anymore; it’s about capturing the mood, the anger, the aggression with all the expression on the face of the actor,” says Rai.
Blast from the past
Yesteryear actor Nadia, known as ‘Fearless Nadia’, was known to have done all the daredevilry in the cult flick Hunterwali (1935). The ‘angry young man’ of the ‘70s, Amitabh Bachchan, suffered a near-fatal injury while doing a stunt in Coolie (1982). While Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn are known for never having used body doubles for stunts, Deepika Padukone, too, did her own action scenes in Chandni Chowk to China and Race 2.