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New roles, new bodies: It’s tough but effective, say Bollywood actors

Actors such as Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Ali Fazal, Diljit Dosanjh, Ranveer Singh and many mother are undergoing major physical transformation for their upcoming films.

bollywood Updated: Jun 06, 2018 12:46 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Hrithik Roshan,Ranbir Kapoor,Ranveer Singh
Ranveer Singh beefed up for his role of Khilji in Padmaavat and lost a lot of weight for Gully Boys.

Being an actor is no easy job. To get into the skin of different characters, actors often undergo extreme physical transformation, which can be very taxing. In the past, several male actors such as Aamir Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Shah Rukh Khan, Farhan Akhtar, and Rajkummar Rao, among others, either beefed up or shed a lot of kilos. This year, too, the trend continues as many already have or would soon undergo major body transformations for their upcoming films.

THE BIG LINEUP

Hrithik Roshan’s look from Super 30, a biopic on mathematician Anand Kumar, makes the actor nearly unrecognisable — the normally muscular Hrithik looks much thinner. Then, Ranveer Singh, who bulked up to play Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat, lost a lot of weight to look the part of a street rapper in Gully Boy, and is now again beefing up for Simbaa. For the Sanjay Dutt biopic, playing him in many stages of his life, lead actor Ranbir Kapoor went through multiple bodily transformations; and now for the superhero film Brahmastra, he is pumping iron again. Ali Fazal, who underwent rigorous training to build up his body to play a gangster in a web series, had to lose all of that for Milan Talkies. Diljit Dosanjh, who is playing hockey star Sandeep Singh in the biopic Soorma, had a specific exercise regime to get the right physique.

And the journey begins...#Super30

A post shared by Hrithik Roshan (@hrithikroshan) on

TOLL ON THE BODY

These body transformations make the characters credible, but do take a toll on the actors. Ali, who lost 10kg to play a college student in his next film, says, “Excessive proteins and heavy workouts (for earlier roles) would often leave me restless and moody. Sometimes, old injuries come in the way, too. You have to find ways to bypass those or find quick cures to achieve the final result.”

Actor Kunal Kapoor, who has been through such transformations in the past, calls it very challenging yet very rewarding. “As an actor, you wait for opportunities where you can transform yourself emotionally, mentally and physically,” he says, adding, “It can take a toll on your health, if it’s not done the right way. I had to gain 12kg of muscle for Veeram, and then lose it for my next film. I had people that helped me achieve this in a very systematic way, right from my training to my nutrition.” Kunal reveals that for Veeram, he ate pretty much the same food every day, for about five months.

After laying the role of a gangster in a web series, actor Ali Fazal lost 10 kgs to play the part of a college student in Milan Talkies.

TRAINER TALK

Fitness trainers make sure that they’re in sync with the role requirements and accordingly suggest workouts for the actors. Celebrity fitness trainer Prashant Sawant says that actors have to be prepared mentally first. “If the transformation is for a role, then actors have to literally draw in their mind the kind of physique they want, and then work towards it. Their lifestyle is not so easy with different shoot conditions and timings. However, actors today are focused and regularly work out,” says Sawant. This kind of physical transformation is “a statement for the industry”, adds the trainer. He ensures that the actors in his charge “are in good shape at least 12 months prior to [the film]”.

On the occupational hazards of being a movie star, fitness trainer Rahul Bhatt says, “It’s extreme but that’s where body confidants come into the picture. It’s all calculated risks, no Russian roulette. I don’t ask any of my clients to do anything that I’ve not done myself. Motivation levels vary with the movie stars. My job is to develop a safe, reliable blue print. I tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to.”

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal

First Published: Jun 06, 2018 12:46 IST