Bollywood star John Abraham, who often performs daredevil stunts in films, says the action standards in the country are not up to the mark. His comment came on Tuesday, a day after two actors drowned in a water reservoir after leaping off a helicopter while shooting a crucial climax scene for a Kannada film near Bengaluru. The news is "devastating", John said.
"I am absolutely devastated with the fact that those two Kannada actors lost their lives. I saw the clip. It is absolutely ridiculous and the film's producer should be put behind bars for this," John told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
The incident involved popular actor Duniya Vijay, who swam to safety and even had a life jacket, and two others -- identified as Anil and Uday -- who drowned after jumping off the helicopter.
John agrees that injuries happen despite complete safety and security, but it is a department which needs increased attention in the Indian film industry.
"It is sad this has happened and coincidentally, in my case, with all the precautions, I still hurt my knee. I've always gone about town saying that the action standards in the country are not up to the mark and you cannot blame the action director (for it)," added the 43-year-old actor and producer who had gone through a knee surgery during the shoot of his forthcoming film Force 2.
John rued how "no stress is paid on action and safety gear". Is it the cost factor that keeps producers away from ensuring 100 per cent safety for the crew?
"Partly true. I think we need to take care and we need to make sure that all safety measures are in place because there in no false sense of bravado in getting hurt. It's finally our life that is on the line. So you have got be very smart and safe about it," he said.
Having said that, the Dishoom star, considers action an important part of his life and career. "For people like me, action is a very important part of our lives and it impacts our careers directly. So, we have to be very sure that we are safe. That is very important for us," he added.
The actor has been a part of Bollywood for over a decade and has performed action scenes in movies like Dhoom, Kaal, Force, Race 2, and Rocky Handsome.
He credits it all to stunt men, who he feels, are "the most ignored people" in showbiz.
"I'm totally in support of stunt men getting recognition and their due. I think they are the most ignored people. My solidarity is with them. Even when I am doing an action film, I have always gone and checked the stunt man and seen if he is well padded or protected before he does his stunt, because for me, they are responsible for where I am," said John.
"They make me who I am and if I don't look after or take care of them, I don't deserve to be here."