Monday, October 27, 2008

The Streetfighter: Aamir Khan for Ghajini

The Streetfighter

Hrithik Roshan, go to the back of the class. The best body in Bollywood is about to step out from behind the gym shower curtain. And, it is Aamir Khan's. BT presents the awe-inspiring look that the actor trained for a year to develop and showcase in his new film Ghajini. Feast your eyes on him. You will be forgiven for mistaking Aamir for the Mike Tyson of 1989.

That was when the mercurial boxer was world heavyweight champion and notoriously the meanest man on earth. Aamir has the same look, in face and body; just shows what man can make of himself once the mind is conditioned to accept pain, the body punishment, of sustained, rigorous physical training.
Ghajini is not the kind of film Aamir is used to making. It is an action thriller, a full-on entertainer with revenge as its theme.

Filmmaker A R Murgadoss of the South convinced Aamir to play the role of a man of violence. Aamir said in explanation, "I needed this kind of physique because the kind of action you see me doing, you will believe I am capable of only because of my body." As to what it took to achieve this streetfighter look, Aamir still cringes in memory of the sheer torture he put himself through to get there. "It took three hours of workout every day. I began on March 15, 2007, one day after my birthday, and it went on till April 21, 2008," he said. "I learned a lot about fitness in this period. And how far I can push myself."

His workouts were structured by his physical trainer Satyajit Chaurasia and diet by Dr. Vinod Durandhar. "The workout was a cycle of three days," he revealed, "Mondays I did chest and back, Tuesdays I worked on the arms, and Wednesdays I exercised my shoulders and legs. Then I would repeat the cycle. This included cardio every day of between half-hour to an hour. And abs, to work the core muscles and get the six-pack, say 1,000 crunches. On days when I felt good, I would push myself more. There was no time to think... because I'd be screaming in pain! But I was particular about getting eight hours of sleep. No matter what time I went to bed, I'd get eight hours, then get up and start training. It was tough, because I was into post production for Taare Zameen Par at the time. And I'd finish my workouts, shower, crash out for a while to regain strength, then go to work."

He talked about the challenging diet that supplemented his look. "It was a balanced diet, one-third fat, one-third carbs, one-third protein, but normal food, rotis, rice, sabzis, chicken, 16 egg whites, fruit, and four litres of water. All cooked in three teaspoons of oil. No, not olive oil. There was no sugar, no potatoes, no bananas, no red meat, no egg yolks and no fried stuff. The diet changed every month. In the last week and before I went on the sets of Ghajini, I cut down salt. And the last three days, I took myself to the brink of dehydration by having just one glass of water a day. This cut that last bit of fat. And the body looked lean and ripped," said Aamir triumphantly.

Which truly is a phenomenal way of preparing for a role and getting into character for any actor. Robert de Niro did it in 1980 when he played the boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. Now Aamir has done it for Ghajini. The film is slated for release in December.

Aamir, meanwhile, is into his next film already. It is Raju Hirani's 3 Idiots... for which he does not require "any kind of body". How did he feel about losing the Ghajini look for 3 Idiots? "It's heart-breaking," said Aamir Khan with a wry smile.

"Victory belongs to the most persevering"


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