The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Vivek shin broken in chase scene
- Bike rams into actor, director faints at sight

Calcutta, July 16: Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi was injured in the shin today while shooting for Mani Ratnam’s yet-untitled film on Vidyasagar Setu.

The injury sent the director — visibly ailing for the last two days — to hospital as well. Doctors said he blacked out from “over-work, stress and irregular intake of nutrients over the last few days”.

It was an action-packed stunt scene gone bad. The scene featured Vivek and Abhishek Bachchan, as well as a couple of stuntmen riding two bikes on the second Hooghly bridge. According to the script, Abhishek was to give chase to Vivek who, in turn, was to jump over the stuntmen on motorcycles.

By 5.10 pm, when the mishap occurred, the unit had already been shooting for over 11 hours. Abhishek was chasing Vivek down the left (Howrah-bound) flank of the bridge with the two bikes at a distance, waiting to accelerate after Vivek crossed their path.

So far, so good. But things went awry as soon as Vivek, with his co-star hot on his heels, approached the middle of the lane. He slipped on the rain-washed road and fell, forcing the bike he was supposed to jump over to slam the brakes. But the stuntman couldn’t stop quick enough and the motorcycle rammed into Vivek’s left leg and turned turtle.

As the whole unit ran up to help Vivek, who had doubled up with pain clutching his injured leg, to his feet, Mani Ratnam, watching the scene a few feet away, slumped back into his chair.

The first of the cars left with Vivek for B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre, from where he was referred to the nearby Calcutta Medical Research Institute. The second car also left for B.M. Birla with the film’s director, where he was admitted with “severe postular hypo- tension” (a condition in which the systolic pressure drops when the person is erect), B.M. Birla clinical director Anil Mishra said.

Vivek, however, suffered more. His left tibia and fibula were broken into two pieces each and he would need corrective surgery, CMRI orthopaedic surgeon Subrata Dasgupta said. “We will try to go in for the surgery on Thursday itself,” he added, explaining that there was not much to worry about, as it was not a “major operation”. CMRI spokespersons said the surgery would take place only after Vivek’s father, yesteryear-star Suresh Oberoi, arrived around 11.30 am.

Tonight, co-stars Abhishek and Ajay Devgan spent time at the hospital with both Vivek and Mani Ratnam. Leaving CMRI, a blood-spattered (of the bottled variety for the action sequence, not from any injury) Abhishek would only say that Vivek was “well and recovering”.

Ajay, who also starred with the critically-acclaimed Vivek in Company, reassured anxious fans: “Vivek was not in pain. He was doing fine.”

They then sped off to spend time with their director. The message going out from Mani Ratnam’s bedside to friends was that the director was “absolutely fine”, and the dehydration he had suffered on location was the chief culprit for his losing consciousness. Mani Ratnam will remain in hospital tonight, but is hoping to be back on his feet — and maybe back on location — tomorrow.

Vidyasagar outpost officer-in-charge Swapan Chakraborty said the director was “visibly not all right” for the last two days. “We heard that he was very energetic but, over the last 48 hours, he did not seem his usual self,” he said.

“He would always stay under the umbrella and the shock of the mishap probably sent him to hospital,” Chakraborty added.

There was no news till the evening of tomorrow’s shoot being cancelled, deputy commissioner (headquarters) Kuldip Singh said.

The project — Mani Ratnam’s second Hindi film after Dil Se — has an all-star line-up also including Kareena Kapoor (who arrived in the city last night) and Rani Mukherjee. They had plans to shoot in the city for at least two weeks, though the director behind such hits as Roja and Bombay has been tightlipped about his exact plans.

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