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Women’s Day: Biopic made on India’s first stuntwoman ‘The Sholay Girl’

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Bengaluru, March 8: Often, we hear and talk about stuntmen undertaking the tough acts on behalf of actors on the screen to save the stars from the real risks. But how many times do we really discuss about women stunts?

Photo caption: Bidita Bag; Image credit: Bidita Bag Facebook page

Or did many of us know before that the Hindi film industry also had women stunt artistes to chip in for leading ladies displaying acrobatic and fighting skills on the big screen?

When we talk about stuntwomen in films, one film that comes to our mind is the 1975 blockbuster 'Sholay' that had a sequence of even one of its leading heroines engaging in a life-and-death escape from horse-riding dacoits in her tonga.

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However, although it was Hema Malini who had enthralled the audience with her daring act against the dacoits, the stunts were performed, some of which life-threatening, by Reshma Pradhan. She had been the body double of Hema Malini in the blockbuster and also for many other actresses in the Hindi film industry in the seventies and eighties.

However, it is not too many people who knew about Pradhan's contribution, especially in these years, but now, she is set to have a broader popular base as a biopic 'The Sholay Girl' released as an web film on Friday, March 8, the International Women's Day. Actress Bidita Bag portrayed the role of Pradhan in the film

'The Sholay Girl' is an original web film by Zee5 and is produced by Shrabani and Sai Deodhar - mother and daughter.

Pathan was just around 14 when she started the work as stuntwoman to back her poor family and faced a lot of resistance from the male stunt workers.

"At that time, there were hardly any women taking up the role of even body doubles, let alone those requiring stunts. So, she earned the wrath of stuntmen; they accused her of stealing her job!" Bidita was quoted as saying by The Better India.

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Pathan joined the industry in 1968 and it took some years for her before gaining recognition. She told The Better India: "Between 1971-72, I began getting more work, but these would rarely stretch beyond ten days in a month. Slowly, that began to change with more work coming along my way. But the real break came in 1975-with Sholay."

Pathan's name had such a circulation after that epic film that she even came to be known as "Sholay Girl". Pradhan also had faced several life-threatening situations in her career and had even suffered a serious injury during the stunt for 'Sholay' but she never gave up her work.

Once, a jumping sequence had also imperilled the baby she was carrying and then she decided to take a break only to return later, The Better India report added.

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