“This is the happiest moment for many stunt men like me, who have dedicated their life doing stunts by risking our life. Now we are quite relaxed, our dangerous work will get covered against insurance,” said 44 year old Shrikant Shetty.
He has been working as a stunt man since last 20 years in the film industry. He has a family of two children, wife and parents to look after.
“We have been waiting for this moment from many years and finally it has come true. This will give us a sense of security and safety to our family, if something ever went wrong with us,” said Shetty.
It’s always been thrilling and exciting to see various dangerous stunts in the movies. Though stunts are an integral part of the act, but the serious injuries which a stunt man goes through are real. To give financial protection to these stunt men who are behind the on-screen action heroes, Asian Heart Institute and Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar have taken a step ahead by providing stuntmen health and accident insurance scheme.
The official announcement was made on April 24 at MVM Andheri by Akshay Kumar and Dr Ramakanta Panda, Cardiovascular Thoracic surgeon and Vice Chairman, Asian Heart Institute. As per the insurance scheme, in case of hospitalisation due to any physical injury or accident while doing stunts, a stuntman will be covered for Rs 6 lakh at about 4,000 hospitals through a cashless system. And in case of death, there’s a provision of Rs 10 lakh, which will be given to whoever the stuntman chooses as their nominee. This insurance scheme that will cover 380 stunt artists between the ages of 18 to 55 from the Movie Stunt Artist Association.
Dr Ramakanta Panda, described stunt artists as unsung heroes said, “Stunt artists are the real brave hearts. They are the unsung heroes and their contribution to films is undisputable. It is high time that they are provided with a proper accidental insurance cover. Akshay Kumar is championing the cause of stunt artists in the film industry and we are glad to support it whole-heartedly”.
“Accidents and injuries has been part of our life. We try our best to avoid accidents on film sets but it’s impossible. For many years stunt artists have been risking their lives daily, unfortunately so far there is no provision of insurance schemes for them in the film industry. Several insurance companies have been denying them insurance scheme for many years,” said Aejaz Shaikh, stunt director and General Secretary of Movie Stunt Artist Association.
The insurance will be covered by one of the leading insurance company and Akshay Kumar is going to pay all the premiums.
Appreciating the efforts of stunt men Akshay Kumar said, “I am a stuntman first and then an actor. I believe that my stunts and action sequences are the reason why I have come so far in this industry and the entire credit goes to the stunt community and action choreographers. I am extremely thankful to Dr Panda who has saved many stunt artists’ hearts without doing a surgery.”
Akshay Kumar further added, “Finally insurance will be available for those who risk their lives to entertain us. Until now, there have been no such insurance schemes for stunt artists across any film industry in the country”.
Panda also announced a free Cardio-pulmonary-resuscitation (CPR) training for stunt artists’ community. CPR is an emergency procedure in which a person combines chest compression and gives a series of rescue breaths to help save a person’s life when they are in cardiac arrest.
“CPR is an essential life skill, especially if performed during the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, it can increase a person’s chance of survival. If CPR is not provided, a person’s chances of survival fall by 7-10 per cent for every minute of delay,” said Dr Panda. The Asian Heart Institute is planning to train 5,000 Mumbaikars in CPR this year, including 1,000 police personnel, and 25,000 Mumbaikars over time,” said Panda.