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‘I had to ruin my body for this role’

entertainment Updated: May 12, 2010 11:05 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
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His upcoming film, Kushti (fight), will mark over a decade of his presence in the Hindi film industry. And even though Rajpal Yadav is barely half The Great Khali’s size, he promises to put up a fight in this film. And instead of buffing up for the role, he had to deconstruct his muscles as much as he could.

Meek character
“I was supposed to look meek for the character of a postman, that I am playing. So, far from building up my body, I was on a constant unhealthy diet of stuffing my face and reducing whatever muscle I had. I had to ruin my body,” says Rajpal, who was floored by the unpretentious and simple premise of the movie.

He adds, “It’s a very unusual love story. There is this village, which is packed with wrestlers and body builders. It’s a tiny postman’s story of how his love survives and stands out, both figuratively and literally. The title of the film is symbolic in life, whether it is kushti to survive or achieve anything,”

Yadav bursts into laughter every time he’s asked about his co-star and their pairing in the film, since the title led everyone to expect a fight. But apparently, it’s not that predictable.

“It’s not like he’s going to be lifting me and throwing me around, nor will I be lifting him (laughs). It’s a situational comedy most of the time, but the film has comedy, drama, relationships, emotions and much more,” says Yadav, before adding, “I think he’s a very sweet guy and it was amazing how he got along with the crew and ‘fitted’ in. It’s commendable how he has made himself a brand the world over.” The Great Khali, who stars as himself in this film, visited India after many years for a promotional activity last month.

“I feel this is the most ideal time for the film’s release. Initially the multiplex strike, then some other things delayed it, but this timing is perfect,” says the actor, who has done over 150 films in his 11-year career.

At saturation point?
When asked whether he is nearing saturation point with the roles he’s being offered, he refutes, saying: “I have got a chance to do a lot of semi-commercial and meaningful cinema without getting caught or restricted to either world. Everyone has accepted me and I constantly look forward to playing challenging roles. “I’ve just matured now and have more responsibilities as a man and as an actor. I am not a star or a character, I am only a student of acting. As long as I act, I will treat every role like a teacher, and remain a student.”