Action sequences have always intrigued movie buffs and have left them awe-struck. But, delving deep, has anyone thought of how and what goes behind those risky, life-threatening adrenaline-pumping feats that seem so effortless when viewed on the big screen?
It takes not just a brave mind with a no-nonsense attitude to pull those crazy actions but even a body of steel that works in sync with the mind to make them look convincing. And here goes the argument that there are expert stunt choreographers who are professionals to ensure things are in line in this life-threatening profession, but what if I say that there are not just dare-devil men but also Wonder Women who double up as body-doubles for the leading ladies apart from choreographing and co-ordinating the stunt sequences. Our film industry is blessed with such dare-devil women who ensured that the divas like Aishwarya Rai or Alia Bhatt are left untouched. The cool and composed lady action choreographer Sanober Pardiwalla has carved a golden name for herself in a male-dominated profession and industry.
She is agile, spontaneous and as audacious as her male counterparts and she makes even death-defying stunts look cool without letting gender hinder the profession. Sanober is also a Personal Health and Fitness Trainer. Find out how she pulls off such jaw-dropping actions and chases. In an exclusive conversation with Khelo/ Pycker, Sanober shared some unknown secrets of the industry and also her journey as Bollywood’s sought after Stunt woman. We were awestruck and overwhelmed with her insights, hope you too feel the same once you read the interview.
The shoots have resumed after a lull due to the pandemic and everybody is on their toes to finish their pending projects. Sanober too is busy with shoots and personal training happening simultaneously. She is working on five new projects, which is kept under wraps for now.
You have done stunts for actors like Parineeti, Taapsee, Aishwarya, can you shed some light
Though actresses may be capable of doing risky actions, there are many other elements that go behind the scenes. The producers are apprehensive of encouraging top actresses to perform their own stunts because she may be injured and would take at least 3 months of a break to resume work. The slightest of mistakes can cost a lot. It is not about being daring or their willingness to do a stunt but the cost involved if a stunt goes wrong.
And before the action sequences are shot, there are always takes and re-takes by professional stuntwomen who do them 20 to 30 times with different camera angles to check the most appropriate angle for the shot. They will ensure that the sequence is foolproof with zero room for errors or mishaps. The actresses step in only at a later point to perform those daring stunts.
You pulled an extremely risky stunt in Ravan
Yes, it was very risky. It was one of the best stunts to pull off and it was nominated for Taurus World Stunt Awards.
You have done underwater stunts in Talash, Bhoomi, Udta Punjab, Bang Bang. How did you handle them?
I am a certified D3 Driver and I have done risky underwater sequences.I had done an underwater scene for a serial titled Kalash where I had to drown 20 feet below in a pool wearing a saree. And, while performing a stunt you can’t wear an underwater glass. The biggest challenge is, deep down, you are blind. And as I am a professional, I can be drowned only forcefully.
So that requires tying myself with a weight underneath my saree and forcefully pulling me down. That was risky because the timing of the rescue diver had to be perfect. If anything goes wrong under 20 feet of water, it will be a disaster where I have to remove the weight from underneath the saree, untie the rope without panicking with nil underwater vision.
What are the measures taken by the industry to prevent accidents?
We call safety measures band-aid theory. With advanced technology, we do calculations behind all the stunts. If an actress is ready to perform an action sequence, I will do the calculations and perform the stunt. I train the actor later, no matter how good she is at it.
What is your de-stress mantra?
I am never stressed about performing stunts because I enjoy doing them. Playing with my pet is a great stress-buster. And, I always rectify or reject things that give me stress.
How skeptical was your family about your risky choice?
My parents were reluctant in the beginning. But, noticing how good I am with bikes, with height, with fire stunts, they emphasized on my safety as the top priority. I have no qualms to say NO when required and explain why the stunt is unsafe. My parents’ only focus is making things safer for me.
Any words of advice to the aspiring stuntwomen?
There is a huge scope in the profession. To take this up as a profession, one must train and strain really, really well. An injury may render you handicapped and you may not be able to do stunts in the same way you had performed earlier. Always have an alternative profession. There will be age-specific limitations in this profession.