I have done many action sequences in my career. My toughest however, has to be the fire sequence in Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om. As an action director, the risk factor is always high. But this topped it all. We had to shoot indoors. And the escape routes weren’t many. There were three cameras, seven people from my team, the light men and the actors. Plus there was this big fire.
It was shot in Film City. The scene was an integral part of the screenplay and we shot it on the same set even after it got burnt once. We had to keep the fire under control. The lives of so many on the sets depended on me. We had hired a safety team also. One small mistake and the results could have been disastrous. When I was a stuntman, I didn’t think so much. But as an action director, my role had changed. People trusted me. And I had to achieve that.
I had organised two teams – one to light the fire and the other to put it off. But it was keeping the fire under control that was the toughest bit. All the curtains would catch fire. And to keep it from getting out of hand was not easy. Even the monitors were installed outside. There was only so much space for the the actors and the technicians and the fire in the sets.
I used to pray a lot. After every shot, I would thank God for keeping everything fine. I felt that as a human being I had done my bit and the rest was up to God. The part where Arjun Rampal walks out was shot in two parts. But when Deepika comes in, the real fire starts. I had to keep a tab on the chemicals to be put on Deepika’s dress so that the fire doesn’t burn her.
And then SRK had to enter from the top. He is like a real Pathan. He never got scared. He had to do a blast scene and he never even questioned me. When he had to fight Arjun with his clothes on fire, he just trusted me completely.
Both SRK and Deepika were very supportive during the shooting. And Farah was very happy with the result. Even now people ask me how I had managed to shoot such a fire sequence. And I feel happy. The scene was shot five or six years back, but every time I look back, it feels nice.Arjun Rampal Deepika Padukone Farah Khan Interviews Om Shanti Om Shyam Kaushal