It’s not rare to hear of stars doing their own stunts, but it’s not everyday that you hear of an actor risking his life for a bit of on-screen daredevilry even when the director and the insurance company advise him against it. Abhishek Bachchan jumped off a cliff, plunging down 90 feet, straight into a river for a scene in Mani Ratnam’s Raavan.
When asked about his scene, Bachchan admitted that Ratnam was dead against him doing the stunt himself because the current was too strong and a 90-foot dive was too risky for an actor.
Look back in anger
“But there were four-five local boys around who would jump off the cliff for money. I pointed out to Mani that if they could do it, so could I, given that there was a professional diver to train me,” explains Bachchan.
He finally had his way and admits that when he was airborne, the only thought on his mind was, “Oh my God, I’m going to die!” He adds that Ratnam was furious after the shot and told him to leave such dangerous stunts to trained professionals.
He says that Raavan is the most challenging film he’s ever done. “It wasn’t just about going to a difficult location or doing difficult scenes. But even though you were drained, at the end of the day, there was the satisfaction of doing really good work,” he asserts.
Bachchan says that Veera is the “most fun character he’s played” and is happy that Ratnam gave him the freedom to essay the part the way he wanted. “Veera is really unpredictable and Mani told me that if I was convinced about something, I was free to weave it into my portrayal,” he says.
Confirming that Ratnam was keen that Bachchan play Dev (Vikram’s role in the Hindi version of Raavan) in the Tamil version (in which Vikram plays Veera), the actor says, “Yes, Mani was adamant that I do it but I’m not comfortable with Tamil and after a while, he understood why I was hesitant,” Bachchan reminisces.
He’s the best
He’s all praise for his director saying, “And once you work with him, you are in awe because of the challenge he brings to the table. You don’t have to work too hard when in front of the camera because he naturally inspires you to give your best. And once he says, ‘Cut!,’ he transforms from genius director to a dear friend,” Bachchan smiles. “He’s truly the best.”
Raavan is Bachchan’s third film with Ratnam and he is thrilled with the response to the film’s promos that have just come on air. The actor who was in the city for a day for the music launch, was getting ready to “bully” Ratnam into showing him the promos before he flew off to Greece to shoot for Ritesh Sidhwani’s film.