Hindi action movies have become more realistic and slicker over the past decade. Thanks to the efforts and the will of new age actors to constantly reinvent themselves by learning techniques like MMA, gymnastics and parkour behind the camera, the appeal of a Bollywood actioner has grown in the eyes of the audience. It has also come to define modern action cinema for us, with names such as Tiger Shroff (Baaghi franchise), Abhimanyu Dasani (Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota) and Aditya Seal (Student of The Year 2) leading by example.
In order to unravel what sort of training goes into making action heroes ready for the screen, News18 gets in touch with celebrity trainer and parkour expert Kuldeep Shashi. He shares his experience of collaborating with actors, both on and off set and why more and more of them are increasingly opting for holistic fitness techniques as opposed to just hitting the gym. Kuldeep also gets candid about his journey, from performing at events to running one of the country’s most sought after fitness centers.
My journey began in 2012…
“I used to perform gymnastics and parkour at shows and events. From there, I got noticed and people started approaching me saying, ‘even we want to learn this’. I began instructing and people liked my performance and training style. They kept referring me to others and that is how I met Tiger (Shroff).”
Training with Tiger: 2012 and beyond
Kuldeep met Tiger in 2012, a couple of years prior to the latter’s Bollywood debut. “When I met Tiger, he was not an actor. We started training together and one-and-half years down the line, he got his first film. It became a hit. After Tiger’s entry in the industry, action movies got a boost. Now, everyone wanted to do the sort of stunts that he pulled off, both upcoming actors and those who were already doing action movies. With Tiger coming into the limelight, my career too zoomed,” says Kuldeep about kick-starting a new trend in Bollywood.
“I train with Tiger in action, martial arts and gymnastics. We work together almost everyday. The sessions are usually 2-3 hours long. Whenever he is busy with shoots, we go without training otherwise we never take a day off. I am also with him on movie sets,” adds Kuldeep.
“The action director sets the choreography of the scene. My job is to make sure that it looks good on him (Tiger). Sometimes, I also give my inputs as to what more can be added, like a certain punch or a kick, so that it comes out looking sharper. My presence makes the job easier for the actor as well as the action director.”
Kuldeep says Tiger inspires the youth. “Children today tell their parents that they want to grow up and be like him. People get motivated to stay fit looking at him. He has reached that level where we all can proudly say that he is the one we would like to become, be it dancing, fitness or doing action.”
On training Varun Dhawan
Kuldeep recalls training with Varun Dhawan for Street Dancer 3D, where the actor insisted on doing back flip without cables. They ended up working together for three-four months to achieve the desired results. “I have worked with Varun in a couple of movies and TVCs. Even though there’s no hardcore action, whatever stunts we do have to look good on screen. In Street Dancer, there were some back flips which he pulled off nicely. He wanted to do them by himself, without cables. And he did it.”
On training Disha Patani and Jacqueline Fernandez
Kuldeep says heroines primarily train with him for fitness and to add to their skill set. “I train with Jacqueline (Fernandez) and her mindset is to stay fit. Disha (Patani) too has the same outlook. She trains with me for fitness and to acquire new skills. As a performance, it looks good. Plus, one knows that their time is not getting wasted here as they learn new things. Overall, this makes them happy. At the gym, the routine is the same day in and day out. Here, you are developing a skill.”
On social media and fitness
Kuldeep says, “Social media is a good place to show your growth, get compliments. Say for instance, people share their weight loss pictures. In real life, 10-15 people you meet notice the change. On the internet, this number is in thousands and sometimes even lakhs. When so many people admire your efforts, you get further motivated. The input of social media in fitness is huge.”