Busted: A falsehood, up in smoke
This weekly column debunks the various myths propagated by Indian cinema—Tamil films in particular
Myth: Hero can safely walk away from an explosion
Propagated in: Baasha, Billa 2
Explosions. The hallmark of any action film. You’d be hard-pressed to find one without the trademark explosion scene – you know the one where the hero triggers an explosion and struts towards the camera with an indifferent look. In the iconic Baasha, this happens at least twice: once in the Azhagu song, and the other near the climax. But watching that scene in a recent film got us wondering: is it really possible to be that cool?
M Shahul Hameed, Joint Director, Fire and Rescue Services, doesn’t think so. “Regardless of how the person may be feeling psychologically, science tells us it’s not possible,” he says. “A real explosion – say one caused by TNT or RDX – sends shock waves around it. Enormous energy is released, and air waves that create turbulence are generated.” Shahul believes that the shock waves would travel at east 40-50 feet. “Such explosions would typically end up burning and injuring people in that vicinity. If you’re as close to it as some of our heroes, the body would get completely shredded,” he says. “When such an explosion occurs, the best thing to do would be come to a crawl or to quickly lie down.” Shahul adds that there have been instances of actors getting injured when filming such scenes, even though the explosions aren’t as intense as they are shown. “If care needs to be taken during filming, can you imagine if a real explosion occurred?”