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Disha Patani’s body double’s shocking revelations will break your heart!

In an exclusive interview with CineBlitz, Bollywood’s stunt star Shalini Soni makes some startling revelations about her journey as a leading stunt artiste




You may have seen Disha Patani perform dare-devil stunts on the trapeze in the trailer of Salman Khan-starrer Bharat. And while Disha seems to be pulling off those dangerous flips with ease, let us introduce you to the stunt double who’s actually pulled off those risky stunts for the actress. Performing those absolutely death-defying numbers is actor-turned-stuntwoman, Shalini Soni. The stuntwoman had earlier performed some stunts for Madhuri Dixit Nene in Total Dhamaal as well, and she is currently shooting for Malang, where she is once again the body double for Disha Patani. Interestingly, Shalini’s real life story is far more interesting and with more twists than any reel story that we may have come across.

Hailing from Rajasthan, she is the eldest daughter of the family. And it hasn’t been an easy journey forShalini who came to Mumbai to become an actor, but ended up doing stunts. She says, “I am the eldest of five children in the house; my mother was a housewife and my father didn’t really have much to do. I came to Mumbai to be an actor, but one scene of riding a bike got me the job of a stunt-woman and since then I have been performing stunts for various actors.’’

However Shalini reveals that she had never set out to be a stunt artiste. She explains, “I was working in serials and payments would come to me only after 60 days, which was tough for me. One day during a shoot, I was asked if I could ride a bike and I did it.  And after that one scene, I started getting calls from assistants of several stunt masters and my journey as a stunt artiste began.”

Shalini’s journey has been heart-wrenching as she reveals how she almost got sold by her roommate to a brothel-owner. She says, “I was sharing an apartment with another girl who told me that she will change my life and that I will get a lot of money and my life will be very good. I thought she is concerned about me and is sincerely taking me to meet someone who will give me good work.’’

She adds, “My roommate took me to this hookah bar in Lokhandwala, and there was this pretty, but ‘madam’ kind of a woman loaded with gold, who told me that I will be given a house and she was taking me to Kamathipura. I really didn’t know anything about what kind of notorious place it was. Just then a friend, who was also  struggling with me as an actor called and I told him about this new job I was being offered. He asked me for my location and immediately reached the bar. Even before I could say anything, he slapped the woman, and a scuffle ensued. The bouncers interfered too and I got saved.’’

This friend then later took me to Kamathipura once and explained how I would’ve been made to work there, “and nobody from my family would have even known where I was and my life would’ve been over.’’

Shalini and her friend wanted the land-lady to file a complaint against the roommate, but the land-lady refused to be involved in it. Shalini informs, “The girl confirmed to my friend and the lady that she had planned to sell me for Rs 70,000.’’

But Shalini’s woes didn’t end there. She almost got labelled by the cops as a “pick-up girl”. Shalini shares, “I had just returned from Kolhapur from the shoot of a show called Krishna. On my return, my watchman informed me that my land-lady was not the real owner. She took away all my money and had absconded. All my belongings were thrown out of the house too.”

She continues, “I had nowhere to go, so I just sat with my luggage on a bus stop. I was looking a little unkempt and policemen, who were on their rounds, came and started calling me names. I tried to make them understand but they wouldn’t listen to me. Then I took them to the building where I was staying and after that their approach towards me changed. They even helped me jump over the fence of the Green Park Garden on Lokhandwala Back Road, where I spent the whole night amongst mosquitoes.”

Post the incident, Shalini rented a small house and she revealed that her job as a stunt artiste paid her much better than what she got for acting. Shalini lost her father last year (2018). His wish was only to see her married. “I had got engaged and the family was ready for the marriage without any dowry but just as soon as they found that I worked in films they asked for a dowry of Rs 10 lakh. They only knew about Bollywood, but didn’t bother to check what kind of work I was doing in films,” she adds.

As for her professional life, Shalini performs all kinds of stunts – from dashing into glass, breaking it to riding bike through fire. However, she admits that she was scared of heights. She says, “I was afraid of heights, but I am the same girl who jumped from that height in Jolly LLB 2. I was the body double for Sayani Gupta in the film (who is shown to commit suicide by jumping off the roof).”

Shalini is presently shooting for Disha Patani in Malang. She informs that an increasing number of girls are now joining her profession. But she also points out that many of them, like her had come to become actors, but instead ended up becoming stunt artistes. So what does she do in her free time, we are curious to know? “I practice,” she shares.

Risk is one thing that all the stunt-women take while performing action scenes and if there is an injury, all they get is a payment of 11 shifts. However, it is Akshay Kumar who has given them confidence and even made sure that all stunt artistes are now insured. She says, “I cannot thank him enough for what he has done for us. If a girl meets with an accident on set and is injured, her life changes and if something happens to us at least the insurance money can go to our families. Hats off to him!’’