The Stunt Magician
Words: Tahnic Murshed (Photography: Courtesy)
Most Bangladeshi commoners view biker stuntmen as inconsiderate people, and view bike stunts as a very tactless activity. But that won’t stop some rebels from having fun their own way.
Abdul Kaiyum does motorcycle stunts purely out of the sheer thrill factor of it, and is a part of the ‘Haunt Riders’ group. In recent times, he has partaken in the Bangladesh stunt-based competition TV show Pulsar Stunt Mania and has become the champion in the first section.
“Safety, safety, safety”, uttered Kaiyum. Not once, but three times in succession. When asked of beginners learning motorcycle stunts, that was his first advice. He says wanting to do bicycle stunts whimsically is foolishness and can lead to deadly consequences, for which it is extremely important to know the practice properly and be in regular practice.
The sport was very underdeveloped and obsolete in Bangladesh, contrary to its proper development and exposure in foreign countries. Those who partake in the activity, do it for the thrill, as did 31-year-old Kaiyum. Originally inspired by the bike stunts from the Hollywood film Biker Boyz, Kaiyum developed a passion for the sport that is till now intact. As a display and proof of his undying enthusiasm, he perfects his craft and makes new bike stunts, participates in various events, and leaves crowds awestruck. When asked how many stunts he has under his wing, he spit out names in a split second. 360 degrees which includes turning the bike by putting a foot on the ground; the Christ, which involves standing on top of a moving bike in a cross position; and various wheelies to name a few. Upon counting his stunt types possession, he gave an approximate of 19 or 20 different stunts, all of which he perfected of his own volition either through YouTube or by observing foreign stunt mania shows.
For his hardwork and dedication, he has been promptly rewarded with recognition. He participated in the stunt-based competition show Pulsar Mania, where he defeated hundreds of other participants to take the title of champion for himself, that too in the first section. He has also made a few appearances in a couple of episodes to fascinate crowds with his performance. Finally, when the results were out and he was announced champion, he received Taka 10 lacs and a new motorbike. With that new bike, he travelled to Dhaka from Madaripur in order to practice with his friends and participate in more competitions.
Abdul Kaiyum finished his education in Dania College in 2006. He was always more focused on the business that he did, rather than his studies. Thus, he resigned from his studies and started working in his uncle’s IPS factory. He used to deliver IPSs to Dhaka on a daily basis, for which he got easy access to his uncle’s bike. The scenes from Biker Boyz constantly played in his head, but he could not find the courage to proceed with stunting as he did not have practice in the field. The internet was not yet so accessible in the country, and neither was anything available on YouTube. That is when in 2011, Kaiyum struck upon TV, where he saw the Indian Pulsar Stunt Mania. From then on, his buried dream for motorbike stunts came to light and he became restless to learn and learn.
One day, he came to know of a bike stunt organization from a bike shop. He contacted with one of the founders, Mithun Mudha, who welcomed him to the group, but reminded him of the first priority – safety. So, there rushed the enthusiastic Kaiyum to Bongshal for the safety equipments. Then came Friday, when it was time to begin his stunt practice with the ABCs of bike stunts. Sessions were held inAftabnagar, 300ft, Savar, Hemayatpur, etc. places with minimal human swarming. Day by day he got better and closer to the other group members. Kaiyum says it’s essential to join such groups to learn stunting in Bangladesh. Albeit everyone in the group learning by themselves, being in a group allows everyone to share their experiences, teach each other and grow at a faster rate.
At this point, Kaiyum’s family was still unaware of his endeavours. He would leave his equipment in a shop and then pick them up on his way to stunt practice. Damage to his bike and equipment after practice had become a regular occasion at that point, but he would fix it up at the shop before heading home. Most of his salary was spent on fixing his bike and gasoline. “My father worked at a government firm and his elder brother lived abroad. SoI could spend all my salary however I wished” said Kaiyum.
But at a point, his family came to know of his other world, his passion. They were worried about his safety, for which Kaiyum would do stunts in secret. The sad part was, he could not share his pleasure and sense of accomplishment he had after learning new stunts. Till some time ago, he would not even upload his images on his own Facebook profile. However, it was only a matter of time till everyone came to know of it. Luckily, by that time he had already gotten an invite to television shows. His team’s stunt videos were shown on TV, published on newspapers, seen and read by many. But Kaiyum did not let it get to his head, “I’m not doing drugs, neither am I doing something bad. Everyone has a passion, a hobby, and this is mine.”
Kaiyum has now become known as an actor among his close friends and family. I mean, the man has received proper TV clout after reigning champion in the TV show. His family was a part of the audience in the grand finale, and all the cheering for Kaiyum’s awe-striking stunts made them proud. “That was the most glorious moment in my life”, said the champion.
Everyone’s excitement for Kaiyum has started showing him dreams. Now, he wants to participate in the World Motorbike Stunt Championship, where many stuntmen from all around the world compete against each other. He aims to represent Bangladesh in such tournaments, but the journey is not easy on him. Perhaps he finds thrill in competition, and that drives him to strive harder and harder.