Lights, camera, tragedy: Stuntman Uday was scared of water

Moments before incident, duo told local channels that they did not know how to swim well, but were ready to take the risk

Published: 08th November 2016 02:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th November 2016 10:26 AM   |  A+A-


File photo of Two stunt actors Anil Raghav L and Uday R feared drowned in a lake after a helicopter stunt for a Kannada film shoot went that horribly wrong in neighbouring Ramanagara district. | PTI

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: It was Lights, Camera, and what followed was Tragedy on Monday. The stuntmen Raghav Uday and Anil Kumar, looking their best, arrived at the spot at TG Halli reservoir. The men were nervous but had a confident smile as they would be shooting the climax scene of ‘Masti Gudi’ with their guru Duniya Vijay. The filmmakers had invited TV channels to witness the much-publicised climax sequence involving a risky stunt, reportedly made at a budget of Rs 1.25 crore.

At 2.23pm, the scene was set rolling and the trio jumped into the helicopter and at 2.45pm, Uday and Anil jumped off the chopper into the water. However, in less than a minute, the scene turned tragic 
with the two stuntmen going down under.

Moments before the incident, the duo told local news channels they did not know how to swim well and were taking a risk as they had not practised in a while. But they said they were excited to be shooting with Duniya Vijay. 

Relatives and friends of Uday and Anil at the spot; 

A few who knew the duo said they were on a special diet for the past 20 days to build the perfect abs.

The horrifying moments unfolded thus. At 2.20pm, the trio performed prayers, the usual practice before any major stunt scene. First, a scene where Duniya Vijay trying to enter the helicopter was shot. At 2.23pm, the trio run towards the chopper to shoot a scene where Duniya Vijay is chasing Uday and Anil. The script demanded that Uday and Anil manage to get into the chopper while Duniya Vijay hangs onto the chopper’s skids. He then climbs into the helicopter and a fight sequence ensues. Vijay pushes Uday and Anil jump off the chopper. Vijay then jumps into the water.

But as soon as Uday and Anil hit the water, it was evident that they had started panicking. Anil jumped in like a professional whereas Uday jumped in an abrupt manner. Uday tried to swim, beating his hands heavily in the water. He finally raised his hands, gesturing he could not swim anymore. The stunt crew who were on the lake shore assumed that Uday’s gesture was a sign to show he was safe. 

As the scene demanded such a dangerous stunt, there were rescue boats positioned near the spot where the trio would land. However, the boat closest to the spot developed a snag, which they realised only when others shouted for help. 

Meanwhile, a person from another rescue boat jumped into the water carrying a life jacket and reached Duniya Vijay, who had swum close to the rescue boat. Sources said Vijay was already wearing a life jacket inside his shirt while performing the stunt.  

Local news channels who were at the spot shot Uday’s drowning scene  whereas Anil was nowhere to be seen. A source said, “The helicopter was owned by former minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa’s son Ganesh.” 

Uday’s friend Kumar said that Uday was scared of water as a child. “We used to call him whenever we went for a swim, but he would never come.” Uday’s mother Kousalya said, “He was the head of the family and our support. He used to seek my blessings before he went for a shoot. I was at Andralli and this was the first time he did not inform me before leaving for a shoot.”

Uday’s parents wanted him to get married, but he always said he would do so only after getting recognition. Anil was married and has two children. His family had often asked him to stop performing stunts. 

Actor Duniya Vijay with rescue personnel during the search operations
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