Today, filmmaker Rohit Shetty needs no introduction. He is known for delivering back-to-back entertaining films like the popular ‘Golmaal’ franchise, ‘Singham’, ‘Chennai Express’, etc. He had started working in Bollywood in year 1991 as an assistant director with the film ‘Phool Aur Kaante’ which starred Ajay Devgn (debut film) playing the lead role. Apart from the Entertainment quotient, his films are well-known for witnessing some daredevil action stunts and of course the sequences where cars are smashed. Perhaps, this love for action comes through the genes from his late father MB Shetty (Muddu Babu Shetty), who was a veteran stuntman, action fight composer and actor in Bollywood films. Popularly known as Fighter Shetty, he is still remembered for his fight sequences with megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha in cult films like ‘Trishul’, ‘Don’, ‘Kalicharan’ etc.
Recently, we knew about an incident where MB Shetty was scared to perform a daredevil stunt. But what followed is an inspiring story of overcoming the fear of failure. It was in the year 1959, filmmaker Aspi Irani was ready to shoot an action scene for his film ‘Quaidi 911‘. The scene was to be shot at night when it was pitch dark and the stuntman had to jump from a bridge on any one of 15 moving trucks in that scene. Talking about the lighting here, there were only the truck’s headlights to calibrate the fall. (Also Read: Did you know? Shah Rukh Khan’s father was sacked from ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ after a day’s work)
In an old interview, late MB Shetty had recalled about the stunt as he said, “It was a dangerous stunt because if I missed and fell down instead, the next truck could easily run over me. I could hear director call for action but could not jump. With my wife in the maternity home, my daughter Chaya was just 2-days-old. I remembered her cherubic little face with her eyes shut and I just could not jump.”
It was then that he shared his concern with director Aspi Irani and the latter therefore decided to reschedule the stunt when Fighter Shetty felt comfortable. But due to the cancellation of shoot, Shetty’s ‘unprofessionalism’ (as it was called) was being joked about. He saw his reputation as a stuntman being at stake, and hence decided to complete the stunt immediately. He met Irani to finalise the date for shoot. And the night arrived when Shetty shot for the scene and it was a one-take shot!
He recalled in his interview, “He (Irani) got everything ready. I stood on the bridge, prayed and jumped. It was an excellent scene.”
Indeed, he overcame his fear of facing failure and made it an inspiring incident to remember. A real life master of action he definitely was…