Martial arts training: Latest requirement for actors in Bollywood

  • Jigar Shah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 20, 2016 18:58 IST
Anushka Sharma trained in wrestling for sultan. (Twitter)

Bollywood actors often talk about getting under the skin of their characters while preparing for their roles. At times, this process involves acquiring a skill or learning something completely new. In fact, many actors even test their limits for their films, and don’t mind going the extra mile.

For instance, Tiger Shroff — who made his Bollywood debut with Heropanti (2014), and is already trained in taekwondo and wushu — turned to Kalaripayattu for his next, Baaghi.

In fact, Kunal Kapoor, who is currently preparing for his multi-lingual film, Veeram, has also turned to the same form of martial arts. “It has been a physically demanding role. I trained in Kalaripayattu with a teacher from Kerala. I had trained in it earlier as well, but the northern style of Kalaripayattu is mostly weapon-based, with swords and daggers. So, I had to work on a whole new set of skills,” he says.

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On the other hand, John Abraham learnt Tai Chi and Aikido in Thailand for his upcoming film, Rocky Handsome. “When I came back [from Thailand], and people saw my body, it was full of black and blue marks. I didn’t know which side to sleep on,” the actor had told HT Café in an interview in the past. The film’s director, Nishikant Kamat, had also said, “We wanted to do something that we have never seen in Indian cinema before, and John being John, did his best.”

In fact, ever since Salman Khan was announced as the lead actor for director Ali Abbas Zafar’s Sultan — the film is based on the life of a wrestler — everyone was curious about the film’s female lead. Finally, Anushka Sharma’s name was announced. It was revealed that she will play the character of a wrestler from Haryana. Soon enough, the actor started preparing for the role, and spent six weeks learning different wrestling styles. Anushka’s trainer, Jagdish Kaliraman, says, “Wrestling is a difficult sport, but in spite of that, Anushka gave it her best. During the training, she observed every move that we showed her very carefully.”

Anushka will be seen as a wrestler in Sultan. (Twitter)

In the past, Priyanka Chopra, who is currently making waves globally, also underwent rigorous training to convincingly play the role of boxer Mary Kom in a biopic. The actor had to master boxing in 45 days. Besides training in the gym, she did shadowboxing for hours.

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