Engineer turns stuntman to carry forward family legacy

Chennai: Meet an electronics engineer who stunts for a living. Though his family are associated with movies for decades, Srivatsan Kanna’s dive into the film industry was totally unplanned.

“My grandfather, my dad and my uncle have been working as stunt artistes for several years,” he says.

In 2016, his father told him to become a member of the stunt artistes’ union, to continue the family tradition.

“I applied for it and during Pongal of 2017, I officially became a member of it,” smiles Srivatsan, a resident of Teynampet.

He has performed in ‘Velaikkaran’, starring Sivakarthikeyan. “I realised how tough it was only after I started working,” he says.

Srivatsan was one of the 11 stuntmen, chosen from 80 others. He shares an unforgettable moment during the film shoot. “Cinematographer Ramji sir told me to come forward so I could be visible during a fight sequence. I couldn’t believe that he wanted me on screen.”

Srivatsan explains about the obstacles faced by stunt artistes. “It is quite difficult to find work. You need to be extremely talented to get a chance to work under a renowned stunt choreographer. I feel that audience have matured and they demand realistic fights. Years before, many movies used to have at least five to six fight sequences but now they are very few. New stunt artistes mostly get to work for high budget films but for low budget movies only expert stuntmen are hired.” He adds that high budget movies are hardly made and hence it becomes difficult for new stunt artistes to find work.

In his college days, Srivatsan came across the Dubsmash app. “I came to know about it after I saw it in my cousin’s WhatsApp status.”

For fun, he made a video and shared it to his cousins. “They started laughing and told me to make more videos,”he smiles.

Soon he started uploading his videos on Instagram (@shrii_38). “Many started motivating me and it was nice that even my school friends came forward to appreciate my videos,” he says. “I do it for fun and in a way it helps me to improve my acting.”

Srivatsan has acted for a short film and was a stunt artiste in ‘Mannar Vagaiyara’. He is currently working on ‘Seemaraja’, again starring Sivakarthikeyan.

Srivatsan credits his family for consistently motivating him. “Many have appreciated my acting in Dubsmash videos but I think I can do better,” he says. “I feel that when we think we are great, we will stop learning. I wish to do more.”

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Mohammed Rayaan