‘Fire is a good servant but a bad master’
Almost everyone is familiar with that saying. But today, I would like to recount some interesting fire related tales of tinseltown or the film industry we call Bollywood. The earliest known incident destruction of film property was Dadasaheb Phalke's 'Raja Harishchandra' (1913). It happened a few years after the film was made. In 1917, the last print of his film caught fire while it was being transported from one cinema tent to another, by a bullock cart. Phalke hurriedly re-shot the whole film to produce the version that exists today. In 2002, The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) witnessed a fire incident that destroyed the original camera negatives and prints of 45 films, including that of India's first talkie Alam Ara and some of the original nitrate material from the Phalke family.
On the sets of the epic ‘Mother India’ there was a scene where Nargis, the famous actress, was caught in a fire. The matter got serious as she really got trapped and people began to apprehend the worst. The young actor Sunil Dutt, who played Nargis’ son in the film leapt into the flames, risked his life and brought her out to safety. Dutt quickly grabbed a blanket, wrapped it around Nargis and managed to rescue her. Dutt suffered burns but won Nargis' heart. They got married that year.
A deadly fire on the sets of Sanjay Khan’s “The Sword of Tipu Sultan” killed 50 people and he himself suffered severe burns which disfigured his face.
In a more recent instance, three crew members were injured in a fire on the sets of Salman Khan starrer Dabangg 2. The cast and crew were shooting at Mehboob Studio in Bandra, Mumbai, when the fire broke out following an electric blast, a report stated. The injured were admitted to the Lilavati Hospital and they were all out of danger, the report quoted official sources. A fire broke out during the shoot of ABCD 2, an upcoming movie starring Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor, in a Mumbai studio recently. Around 600 people including the cast and crew were evacuated after. Nobody was hurt and the fire was put out in time. (this #2 appears fire jinxed).
Sanjay Leela Bhansali had a pretty bad run with fire. A massive fire broke out on the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black in Feburary 2004 in Mumbai which destroyed film equipment worth Rs. 200,000 and caused minor injuries to some people. Two people were killed when fire broke out on the sets of his magnum opus Devdas in 2002. A similar incident happened during the shooting of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam in 2000.
Not only films, but TV industry too has had its share of fire tragedies. In 2013, a massive fire engulfed the sets of TV show Comedy Nights With Kapil at Goregaon Film city and though there were no casualties the producers suffered huge losses and had to shift their shoot to another location till the set was renovated.