Newcomer Harman Baweja gave a scintillating performance at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards function in Bangkok, but not many know he was in deep pain just hours before the show.
While rehearsing back stage, Harman slipped and fell, twisting his right leg.
Recalling the incident with a shudder, Harman says: "This was my worst nightmare come true. I had always imagined what it would be like if I got injured just before a performance. But my first performance? Come on, have mercy."
Harman's first reaction was panic. "I felt something had definitely broken. My instant reaction was, 'Oh God, I won't be able to go on stage. What would people say? They'd think I chickened out.' There was no way I was going to pull out."
On seeing the leg bruised and swollen, the budding actor knew his worst fears had come true.
"I sat staring at my leg and so did everyone else. What now? That was everyone's thought as paramedics rushed in with bags full of medicine. I was in acute pain. The first thing I did was to have a painkiller that I had brought from Mumbai. But that wasn't enough."
At this point, magic happened behind-the-scenes.
"A paramedic took out a spray and before I could protest, sprayed my leg profusely. The pain was gone!! My next question to the medicos was, if I dance would it injure my knee permanently? No way was I going on stage if I was going to have a troubled knee for the rest of my life.
"I was told that if I don't dance my leg would heal in two weeks and if I do, it would take a month. So I went on stage as per schedule with a paramedic standing out of stage range... just in case."
Fortunately for Harman, who debuts in the much-hyped futuristic film Love Story 2050, his performance went like a dream.
Did the bad leg force the newcomer to change his rehearsed steps?
"Only once, I stopped for a second when I wasn't supposed to. No one noticed. I danced to the best of my abilities and the response was overwhelming. But I'll never forget my first stage performance. Hopefully the ones to follow will be smoother," the actor said.