Article Hindi

Definitely normal, say stunt directors about Kangana’s dummy horse sequence in Manikarnika

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The actress has become the butt of jokes for riding a 'fake' horse during the shooting of Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi.

Keyur Seta

Social media and WhatsApp groups were agog last week with Kangana Ranaut’s video from the shooting of her latest film Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi (2019). In the video she is seen riding a dummy horse while shooting for an action scene. The footage became the source of much merriment for many and the actress got trolled for using a ‘fake’ horse.

However, action and stunt directors from Hindi cinema explained that this is how normally horse-riding action scenes are shot in movies nowadays.

Well-known stunt director Allan Amin told Cinestaan, “This is definitely normal. What happens is that if an actor who is riding falls off the horse, the whole shoot goes for a toss. The actor falling off is the most dangerous thing [to happen to a film]. This is the most important thing we should remember. Fighting and sword-fighting is okay.”

Using the dummy horse is also something that he does, Amin said. “I have used the same type of horse for a few of my other films," he said. "This is also done in Hollywood. Nobody sits on an actual horse unless you are extremely well trained to do it.”

Veteran action director Sham Kaushal, who choreographed and oversaw horse-riding scenes in Padmaavat (2018) and Bajirao Mastani (2015), said the same thing. “We use a lot of things to bring an impact on the screen," Kaushal said. "It should appear thrilling and exciting. But for that we don’t need to put the actor or stuntman at risk. For this, a lot of things have been invented. People should find the final cut convincing.”

Giving examples, he said, “We use a harness to show someone flying. We use a crash mat if someone has to fall down. So, the aim is that people should find it exciting on screen and [at the same time] the actor or stuntman should be safe. We need to achieve it as easily and comfortably as possible. It is an imaginary world that we create. Every day new things are getting improvised and invented.”

Sham Kaushal

Kaushal added that one should appreciate that technology has made things easier. “Today, through VFX you can show a person standing on a mountaintop when he is not. When a person is shown in a fire, that doesn’t mean you need to actually show him in flames. Hats off to all those who invent such things!”

Kaushal, whose son Vicky is currently the toast of Hindi cinema, believes it is not right to troll artistes in such instances. “There is nothing to laugh at," he said. "For example, sometimes a dialogue needs 10 retakes. Sometimes an actor uses glycerine and sometimes he doesn’t. If a person has to act like he is dying, it doesn’t mean we need to actually poison him. When a person is stabbed by a sword in a film, we don’t need to actually stab him. People should understand that it is a make-believe world.”

Kaushal added that there are some artistes in the Hindi film industry who are good horse riders but he refused to name anyone.