Having choreographed for films like 'Anniyan', 'Kaakha Kaakha', 'Ghajini' and 'Enthiran', Peter Hein says that the Indian cinema needs better safety measures. Also, he who won the National award for 'Pulimurugan', says that it was one of the most challenging experiences for him.
"It’s a very tricky profession. Every small detail matters. No matter how big or small the risk factor involved in a certain stunt, everything can go for a toss if the timing doesn’t work," begins Peter. He adds that there is a lot of preparation and practice that goes behind a fight sequence before it is shot or even demonstrated to the actor performing it.
"It starts from the time we listen to the script. We need to know what style of fight would suit the story. The second is that we need to create something new in every fight. It is mentally taxing as well as it takes a toll on every muscle in our body. It has to be very accurate at the same time. It includes the artistes as well. Audience especially love it when a glass breaks or a car hits someone. We go through a lot of difficulty for that. It is in scenes like these that our work is applauded," he muses.
Peter says he has directed stunts sitting in a wheelchair or within minutes of getting out of a hospital post treatment or surgery. "I give my dates eight to ten months prior to the shoot. Unfortunately, when I meet with accidents during stunt sequences, I still need to make it to the sets. Only the crew present on location knows what we go through," he says.
Having choreographed for films like Anniyan, Kaakha Kaakha, Ghajini and Enthiran, he says that the Indian cinema needs better safety measures. "In Hollywood and the UK movie industries, there is a process called ‘risk assessment’. However, as Indian cinema industry hasn’t gone global, there are no such measures being taken here. However, I ensure that my team is safe and no one gets injured."
Peter, who won the National award for Pulimurugan, says that it was one of the most challenging experiences for him. "I agreed to do it because an actor fighting a tiger was first of its kind. It took nearly two months for me to get friendly with the tiger. I had to watch videos of how the animal behaves. I used to feed it, spend time with it. I even took it for a bath and fed it. In the end, I succeeded because I got the tiger to do what I expected of it. This film apart, Baahubali was challenging because I needed 2,000 stuntmen. Somehow I got them all." he recalls.
One of his most noticeable works includes Enthiran with Superstar Rajinikanth. "He is great. He respects everyone and treats everyone equally. There was a shot in Enthiran, which my stunt choreographer struggled to get it right. Shankar asked Rajini if he could do it himself. Rajini sir said, “If Peter believes I can do it, I will go ahead as he understands my hand and leg position better”. I can never forget working with him."
"Also, one day, Shankar, the cameraman and I were late to the sets because of traffic. When we reached the sets, we were shocked to see Rajini sir waiting for us. We asked him how he made it, and he replied saying he knew he’d get late so he got down from his car and requested a traffic constable to drop him off at the sets. Amazing, isn’t it?" smiles Peter clearly in awe of Superstar.
On a concluding note, he says that he would also like to work in a Hollywood film some time. "We do adapt their techniques in our films. For instance, I like the stunt techniques in Resident Evil. I would like to work in those kind of films," he finishes.