Busted: A teething problem
This weekly column debunks the various myths propagated by Indian cinema - Tamil films in particular
Myth: The pin of grenade can be pulled out with one's teeth
Propagated in: Siva, Manithan
Some of the characters Super Rajinikanth has played over the years would put even the Marvel and DC superheroes to shame. One example comes in the 1989 film, Siva, when he bites the pin off the grenade and throws it at an oncoming parade of villains on horses. Plenty of other actors have pulled off this technique too.
Colonel Pradeep Kumar, who was a commando and anti-terror specialist with the Indian Armed Forces, laughs in response to this idea. “Your tooth is ceramic and the grenade is metal. It is all so nice and dramatic to show on screen, but it’s nearly impossible,” he tells us, adding that the type of grenade which is widely used has a basic pin-and-lever mechanism — there is a ring which acts as the lever for it and then, there is a safety clip. “For safety purposes we even bend the pin a bit. Remember Rambo 2? The grenades will be hanging with a pin. Now you can’t do that if you don’t bend the pin a bit. Otherwise, there is a high risk to your family jewels (laughs). Now imagine what would happen if you were able to pull a grenade ring with just your teeth. You would likely get blown to pieces.”
Grenades are apparently often carried in pairs in pouches. “If the rings were so flimsy, they could get tangled up inside the pouch and blow up. Or say, you try to pick one of the two, and you accidentally trigger one of the pins. When you want to burst a grenade, it has to be a deliberate action, and it just isn’t possible as shown in the films.”
So what about hurling such grenades immediately after? “There are specific ways and methods of throwing a grenade. For instance, if you throw it too early, the enemy can pick it up and throw it back. So, usually, we count to three (in fact, we say 01, 02, 03) and then throw it. But if you are holding say a higher ground to the enemy, then you can just roll it. You don’t need to count. Also, grenades are quite heavy in nature; so there’s no way you can throw it as far as is shown in films.”