Technology spells trouble for body doubles

Mumbai: With the advancement in technology, many actors in Bollywood are willing to perform risky stunts themselves, rendering their body doubles jobless.

Stuntmen are often used as body doubles especially when risky action scenes are to be performed. But today as technology has advanced, many Bollywood actors prefer doing their own stunts.

"Earlier, action was just a physical performance, where a stuntman only had to know how to jump and fight. Today, stunts are planned in a scientific manner involving hi-tech equipments. Considering the safety precautions, actors do not prefer body doubles these days and do it themselves," ace action director Sham Kaushal, who won international acclaim for `Slumdog Millionaire`, told PTI.

"Stunts are synonymous with risk. Today we do have equipments that make our work easy and safer. So the risk factor has become less. Stunt director decides whether the scene is required to be done by the actor or a duplicate. If it is more risky then we do it," stuntman Ramesh Singh said.

But actors like Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan like to perform daredevil stunts.

"I am used to doing my stunts. Today it is lot safer due to technique. People are more educated with special effects, camera angle, editing patterns...hence you don`t mind putting in that hard work as it looks good on screen," Salman said.

Recently, stuntman Ramesh Singh performed a stunt for actor Imran Khan for the film `Mere Brother Ki Dulhan`. Prior to that, he did a stunt for Mani Ratnam`s `Raavan`.

"The number of body doubles has become less. As technology has advanced and safety precautions are ensured, actors want to perform stunts themselves. This has affected the income of body doubles like us," Singh said.

Echoing the sentiments of Singh, another stuntman Deepak Sharma, says, "There was a time when I used to perform quite a number of stunts as a body double, but now the numbers have dropped drastically. Today, 75 per cent of the stunts are done by actors. This has definitely had an impact on our income."

Sharma has acted as a body double for actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Abhishek Bachchan and others.

"It has been observed that, today, only in case of life-threatening stunts, actors do not perform stunts or else they prefer to do it themselves," Trade Analyst Taran Adarsh said.

However, there are some actors like Shahrukh Khan, who still prefer to use a body double to perform the stunts.

During the promotion of his upcoming film `Ra.One` Khan had revealed that most of his stunts are performed by a stuntman.

"Since many years I have a stunt double named Riyaz. He looks just like me...he does stunts for me. It is due to him that we look so good on the screen," Shahrukh had said.


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