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Bollywood bodyguards can't shoot straight

Mid-Day.com |

Updated: April 21, 2011, 11:49 AM IST
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Bollywood bodyguards can't shoot straight
Bodyguards of various Bollywood celebs can't hit human-sized target only 30 metres away.

Pune: If a report by a bodyguard-training institute is to be believed, then most Bollywood bigwigs -- supposedly cocooned in their fortified world -- may be actually living in a false sense of security. Many of these bodyguards, responsible for the protection of film industry celebrities, do not possess the requisite skill sets to make them a safe pair of hands that can be relied on, so says the report released by Lethal Force Institute, Pune, which organises training at a firing range for security personnel from various agencies.

Forget that they can not accurately hit a human-sized target on the firing range from a distance of 30 metres, most weapons possessed by these bodyguards are so ill-maintained that even feigning to use them would require some grease to keep the squeaks out, said the report.

'Flawed' security

Citing a recent example of the wedding of an actress held in Khandala, the report said most celebrities who attended the extravaganza with their bodyguards were actually given flawed security, which means the people on whom lay the onus of protecting the glitterati were far from capable of doing so. The agency made these observations based on a training session held by it.

At least 12 bodyguards present at the training session were employees of big guns in Bollywood. A Y Kulkarni, the director of the training institute, said most of these guards seemed to be troubled and sweating even in the cold weather. The training session was repeated after three months and six more private guards associated with an important establishment in Mumbai participated in it. The results were no different this time as well, said Kulkarni.

The results

Only three out of the 12 guards present at the earlier session could send 50 per cent of their shots into the human-sized targets, that too at a distance of just 30 metres. The rest could not even hit anywhere within six feet of the target. Three of their weapons were not in working condition at all and needed major repairs, said the report.

"The weapons were not well-maintained and useless to fire shots. Secondly, the entries of the ammunition purchased by the private bodyguards showed that it was bought from five to 13 years ago. Naturally, very few could produce the desired results and were incapable of firing properly or misfired owing to their age," Kulkarni said. "Some of the cartridges could not pass through the barrels of the hand weapon or jammed into the barrels making the weapon useless."

The survey of the agencies involved in providing private security guards showed that almost all VIPs appoint at least three to six guards on shift basis. A guard's payment starts at Rs 35,000 and goes up to over a lakh per month in case of emergency situations.

"The institutes or people who are hiring or employing guards should first peruse the reports on their weapons, firing ability, and physical and mental readiness," Kulkarni said.

The Other Side

A private bodyguard of an actor in Bollywood, speaking on condition of anonymity, told MiD DAY that only a few guards were directly appointed by the celebrities. "People with a sturdy body and personality are often appointed by the agencies to become private bodyguards. I will not be able to comment on the skill sets they possess. As far as I am concerned, I am a black belt in karate and possess all the skills required to do the job I am selected for," he said.

Actor Ronit Roy, who heads the Ace Security and Protection company that provides private security to about 90 per cent of the celebrities, said: "Our company Dynamic Alternatives is a South Africa-based company with operations in India. As far as firing practice is concerned, there are firing ranges in Mumbai. Our trainers fly in every three to six months to train our armed guards in firing."

Asked if all the armed bodyguards of celebrities have enough firing practice, he said: "I will not be able to comment on this issue." He also refused to divulge information on how many armed private bodyguards his company provided.

First Published: April 21, 2011, 11:49 AM IST
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