Viewers are always stunned by the stunts performed in the movies. However, many are so enamoured with the actor's charm that the men and women behind the stunts are hardly ever given their due. These stunt artists, who at times also get injured or seriously hurt, are often forgotten, and also are not appreciated enough. A step has been taken recently to acknowledge their efforts with the launch of a health and life insurance scheme for them. An initiative spearheaded by actor Akshay Kumar and cardiac surgeon Dr. Ramakanta Panda, it covers over 380 stuntmen and women.
Akshay Kumar, popularly known as the action hero, is himself famous for performing many stunts of his own. Having a martial arts background, he is no stranger to the risks involved in performing these stunts. Along with the Dr. Panda, a recognised cardiac surgeon who has performed an operation on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Akshay has introduced this first-of-its-kind insurance scheme for the stunt artists, after working on it for the past five months.
According to The Hindu, Dr. Panda said,
Stuntmen do not have any insurance to support them monetarily after any accident. It is high time that they are provided with a proper accidental insurance cover.
While speaking on the occasion, Akshay 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 credit goes to the stunt community and action choreographers. 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.
Hindustan Times reported that the general secretary of the Movie Stunt Artist Association, Ejaz Gulab, has said that Akshay Kumar has "made the impossible possible somehow". He said,
Over the years, we had approached a number of producers and insurance companies, but they didn’t agree to provide insurance to us. It was very demoralising, but we don’t know what magic wand Akshayji has used. We can’t thank him enough, as it has come as great news for us.
The stunt artists will be covered for Rs 6 lakh in around 4,000 hospitals through a cashless system, as per the insurance. They will receive reimbursements in the hospitals which are not covered under this network. In case of death, the nominee selected by the stunt artist will be given Rs 10 lakh.
This financial aid comes as the much needed change, keeping in mind the risks that the stunt artists take to perform these stunts.