Run baby run

Taapsee Pannu, actor

PTI10_15_2019_000228A PTI

Taapsee Pannu trained like never before to prepare for her role as a Gujarati athlete in her upcoming film, Rashmi Rocket, directed by Akarsh Khurana and co-starring Priyanshu Painyuli as her husband. The film is scheduled to release later this year. Pannu talks to THE WEEK about her physical transformation for the role.

Q\How was your experience training for Rashmi Rocket?

A\ It was life-changing, because I have never done it before and I am not sure if I will do it again. This is because one really needs to have a solid goal and motivation to achieve it, which probably this film gave me. I think athletics is the most extreme sports to endure physically because of the kind of intensity it demands for those few seconds.... To give your maximum muscle capacity in 20 seconds, you really need to train your muscles hard for months. Thankfully, I am only doing it for a film, so I have the liberty to train less.

Q\How did it feel to complete a shooting schedule during the pandemic?

A\ For me, the journey actually began on January 23. We were to start shooting in March through mid-May, so I gave myself three months to train for this film. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had to also shoot for other films at the same time. As a female actor in this industry, you need to do multiple films in a year. We are not paid anywhere close to what a male actor is paid for such kind of a film. And nor do we have those insane budgets for a female-driven film, where I can use VFX to alter my body and thus look perfect onscreen. I had to do whatever I had to do myself.

Q\How did the physical transformation happen?

A\ I honestly never thought I could, but I did it with the support of my trainers, [who helped me with everything] from training to nutrition, and so it is a credit to them. I used to get up at 5am in the bitter cold of January and train outside. The only motivation for me at the time was that there were a bunch of people who had invested money in me. There were people who were sitting there the entire day and whose only job was to train me for those two hours. There was a lot of investment in terms of human energy and money from the producers. I really did not want to let it go to waste, so that is what drove me every day.