Saif Ali Khan is juggling between maintaining two different looks. For Agent Vinod, he’s been working out everyday with his personal trainer Kunal Bhandore for a ribbed body with washboard flat abs and well-defined shoulders and arms. “Different actors have played secret agent 007 down the decades, including Sean Connery, David Niven, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton. But my favourite James Bond is Daniel Craig, who starred in the last film, Quantum Of Solace (2008). Saif who has the same body type and language, fits perfectly as a desi Bond,” asserts Bhandore.
To ensure that Saif was in shape through the shooting of the action thriller, Bhandore accompanied him to exotic locales like Morocco and Latvia. “Morocco was sunny and Latvia was chilly. For us the weather made little difference because there are gyms everywhere. Sometimes Saif would work out on the sets too,” the trainer reminisces, adding that the hard workouts that include an hour-and-a-half of functional and strength-weight training for big body parts and an hour for the smaller parts, need to be supplemented with yoga and a diet.
Saif has never looked better, but there’s a hitch. The actor has just started shooting for Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan in Bhopal. He plays the role of a college professor in the film that’s based on the government’s controversial reservation policy. “He’s a regular guy-next-door, so we had to change his workout regimen a bit to ensure he maintains his Bond muscles and level of fitness too,” reasons Bhandore.
Meanwhile, the actor’s fan following continues to grow. He was on his way out of a gym in Bandra recently when Bhandore noticed a couple of girls standing outside, but Saif remained unaware. The girls returned the next day with a few more friends. This time Bhandore pointed them out to Saif, who to their delight, signed autographs and even posed for a group photograph. “They were fans from South Africa who. after watching Race (2008) and Love Aaj Kal (2009), had flown down just for a dekko of their favourite star,” he says.