Renowned stuntman M Rajanand has several films to his credit – both in Bollywood and Tollywood. He’s been a stuntman for a number of Bollywood actors, but today he’s on the flipside: he’s directing his own show King of Quick Guns, which features some awesome stunts! We caught up with him for a quick chat, where he told us about his show, the Bollywood actors who can do stunts best, and how technology is changing the daily life of a stuntman.
Team MissMalini: Tell us a little bit about your stunt show at Adventure Island.
M. Rajanand: King of Quick Guns is one of the dream shows that I had envisioned during my days as a stuntman in Bollywood and Tollywood. For this show I have personally chosen and trained the artists to offer a real live stunt experience. After roaring successes with continuing shows at Film City studios (Mumbai) and the Ramoji Rao Film City (Hyderabad), I got the opportunity to bring the show to North India through Adventure Island, Rohini, New Delhi. My Stunt artists are supremely fit and flexible and span the length and breadth of the country with a majority of members hailing from the North-East and the South.
The 15 minute sequence titled the The King of Quick Guns, is featured against the backdrop of a sleepy Mexican rural setup, which explodes when a group of villains try getting smart with the womenfolk and culminates with a daring 20 meter vertical diving stunt to the ground. The show ends with the good winning over bad. Visitors to the Adventure Island enjoy the stunning fight, sound and fire spectacle at a 1000 seater amphitheater. The show runs twice a day on all the days of the week.
Team MM: What made you decide to become a stuntman?
M. Rajanand: My Father has been my inspiration, he was a stunt director in Tollywood. I enjoyed watching him do stunts when I was in school. I took training from him and eventually became a stuntman myself.
Team MM: What is the best part about being a stuntman?
M. Rajanand: I have always wanted to live a healthy and fit life. My profession demands fitness… performing stunts need both physical and mental fitness that keeps you active and energetic. I think that’s the best part of being a stuntman.
Team MM: Who according to you is the best stuntman in Bollywood today?
M. Rajanand: Times have changed; today most of the leading actors exercise in the gym and like to try stunts on their own. It’s difficult to name any one actor, however, personally I think Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Akshay Kumar are really good at stunts.
Team MM: Have you had any serious injuries while doing stunts for a Bollywood film? Which has been the worst?
M. Rajanand: Injuries are a part of a stuntman’s life. We do stunts that involve a lot of danger, not in Bollywood but once I was doing a stunt for a Telgu movie (Ishwar Allwa) and I got some serious injuries.
Team MM: What is the scariest stunt you have ever had to do?
M. Rajanand: Once I was doing stunt for a Kannada movie and it involved me jumping from a bridge on to a road through the moving train. I had to escape the train and land on the road… this was the scariest one which I performed for a Kannada movie.
Team MM: What, according to you, is the best stunt you have ever done?
M. Rajanand: My first stunt in a Tamil movie (Panakaran)… I performed the stunt for legendary actor Rajinikanth… I can never forget that one.
Team MM: What advice would you give to someone who wants to take up a career as a stuntman?
M. Rajanand: It needs a lot of discipline, rigorous training and involves a lot of risk, you need to keep all this in mind before taking it up as a career.
Team MM: How different is it to direct your own stunt show – since you’ve usually been directed to do stunts?
M. Rajanand: In the new role, my responsibilities have gone up. As a director, I am in charge of my crew’s safety. It’s important for me to see that my crew is fit and well trained.
Team MM: Do you think technology and digital stunts are affecting a stuntman’s career?
M. Rajanand: No, in fact technology is helping us improve our performance. Technology has helped has in many ways, it provides us better safety, helps us visualize better and calculate the risk in a much better manner thereby helping us avoid fatal accidents.
Team MM: How different is it doing stunts today as opposed to in the 80s and 90s?
M. Rajanand: In the 80s and 90s, stunts were more physical, the risk of injury was higher. With the acceptance of technology in cinema, stunts have become animated. Technology helps us on safety while the excitement to perform the stunt remains as is.