The Empire a drama series set during Mughal Period, has a lot of expectation to deliver. Historical accuracy, costumes, and specially fight sequences. Working as a stuntwoman for various Bollywood movies backed with technological expertise, there are very few stunts which tests a stunt artist deep in nature. Usually, a rescue mission requires you to be calm in a panic moment, but when you yourself are tied up with a body weight of 4kg and you are set out to perform a rescue mission, things are as easy as it seems. So, with entire cast underwater camera set and courtesy of rescue divers we are all set for the sequence.
If we go back into history and look at the costumes worn by the soldiers back then, one aspect was common among all, they were heavy primary reason being safety from battlefield. However, these aren’t much helpful when your water. As the costumes gets wet it starts to get heavier, moreover, you an added weight belt for a panicking drowning sequence. Moreover, staying afloat underwater without any weight support to get the perfect shot for the camera was different ball game. More than a stunt it was a calculated game of oxygen and the ability to stay calm when you are running out it was the crux of the scene.
Performing stunt under water comes with many challenges, temperature is one them and important one. Shot during peak winters climate of December, the cold temperature did add to scenic beauty but added the difficulty of the stunt. At a temperature where taking bath seems like big task, performing underwater stunt with weight belts requires a great amount of fitness and expertise to deliver stunts with precision.
There were rescue divers, but to maintain yourself calm till they arrive requires a lot patience and prior experience to understand the judgement and calculation of the scene. Being an advance deep diver and working for many underwater stunts and experience that brings along while doing such stunts helps a stuntwoman to prepare physically and mentally for a situation like this.
Being a stuntwoman its more important to remain to be prepared for panic situation, irrespective the amount of rehearsal done, when actual stunt is shot and the cameral starts rolling that’s the real test of being calm and carrying out the stunt with precision.