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Mani said `no` to Abhishek`s 90-ft cliff stunt

Mumbai: Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan performed a life-risking stunt when he jumped from a 90-ft cliff for a scene in his upcoming film `Raavan` despite director Mani Ratnam objecting to it.

"I did the dive myself. When we went to the location in Tamilnadu, insurance officials told Mani that the life of the lead actor cannot be risked. Then he opposed it and said no. Mani advised me that the current of the river was intense and there is a rock in the bottom, which could hurt me," Abhishek told reporters.

Though the actor went ahead and took the dive, there was a moment when he thought he might die.

"We shot in Hogenakkal in Tamil Nadu where small local kids jump for money. When a five-year-old kid jumped, I asked.. if a child can, why can`t I. But while completing the jump, I actually had the time to think, "Oh my God, I am going to die!" said Bachchan recalling the stunt.

The 34-year-old-actor`s dare-devil stunt for the movie, which also stars wife Aishwarya Rai as a modern day `Sita`, however did not go down well with Mani.

"Mani was angry. He told me that I am an actor and not meant to do a risky job which is meant for a trained professional," said the actor who considers `Raavan`, his most challenging role, both "emotionally and physically."

"It`s not just going to a tough location or doing a tough scene. `Raavan` drained me professionally. It felt good when you came home at night. I felt like I have done something. Getting a role in `Raavan` is very rare. I would give my life for Mani," he said.

Abhishek said his character `Beera` in `Raavan` was a fun character.

"When we work on a character, we draw an outline and then fill in the blanks. The character sketch has a definite framework. But there is nothing that `Beera` will not do. He is unpredictable. Mani told me to do whatever I want, but convincingly," he said.

Abhishek first tasted critical acclaim with Mani Ratnam`s `Yuva` and the duo went on to script success with `Guru`, which again starred Aishwarya opposite him.

"Mani never makes films with a hero or a heroine. For him it is always the characters. So one cannot classify `Raavan` as a hero or villain," he said.

On his stint with the veteran director, Abhishek said, "Anybody who works with Mani Ratnam will be in awe of him because of the kind of challenge he brings to the table. But, the minute he says `cut` he turns into a dear friend."

"Mani is very close to me and I feel a strong bond with him. In front of the camera you don`t have to work to give him the respect.. it just comes out after seeing the kind of work he gives to you. He is the best," Abhishek said praising the director who gave him landmark films in his career like `Yuva` and `Guru`.

PTI

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