The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A sinking feeling, a broken leg

At 5 pm, Mani Ratnam was within shouting distance of Vivek Oberoi on Vidyasagar Setu, barking out instructions to his leading man. At 7 pm, Mani Ratnam was still within shouting distance of Vivek Oberoi, but there was no question of barking out any instructions to his leading man.

For, the ace director was in the cardiac coronary unit at the BM Birla Heart Research Centre, while around the Alipore corner, the Bollywood hero was in the intensive care unit of Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI).

Ratnam was under observation and undergoing tests for fainting on Vidyasagar Setu, moments after Oberoi suffered the accident. Anil Mishra, clinical director at BM Birla, referred to his condition as “severe postural hypotension”, where the blood pressure level drops suddenly while standing. Ratnam, who had been suffering from viral fever and dehydration for the past few days, and will be run through some tests on Thursday, was described as “stable” and “in good spirits” late on Wednesday.

The scene was far more bleak at CMRI, where Oberoi had been admitted around 5.30 pm, after the accident. The Company star was said to be “in excruciating pain” when Abhishek Bachchan and two other stuntmen (who also sustained minor injuries) carried Oberoi into a waiting car and rushed him to hospital.

Both Ratnam and Oberoi were first driven to B.M. Birla, before the actor was taken to CMRI. Doctors Subrata Dasgupta and Ashok Das conducted an X-ray that revealed that Oberoi had broken the shin bones on his left leg. “The X-ray reports confirmed that both the tibia and fibula in his left leg are broken. He is under the care of orthopaedic surgeon A.K. Das, who, along with Subrata Dasgupta, will operate on Oberoi’s leg on Thursday morning,” said hospital superintendent Mala Chattopadhyay.

Confusion reigned at CMRI as rumours flew fast and furious about the “critical condition” of Oberoi and how ‘friend’ Aishwarya Rai was “flying down” at midnight to be by his hospital bed, just as the actor had been at Hinduja Hospital, three months ago, when Ash had been injured on the sets of Khaki.

But the official medical bulletin on the leader of the Bollywood brat pack was that he was “stable”, had “spoken to father Suresh Oberoi on his cellphone” and that “the recovery period could only be determined after Thursday’s surgery”.

At BM Birla, the final word on Ratnam was: “A series of tests revealed that his heart is in good shape. Ratnam had been overworking himself for the past five days, despite running a temperature, suffering blackouts and dehydration. He fainted after seeing the accident, but is now stable.”

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