A Brit who is just like the city of Mumbai
The subject of a new documentary, Rich in Bollywood, fitness trainer and actor Richard Lovatt tells us how he's now almost Indian
Chaotic, fast, unorganised, exciting, fun," is how Richard Lovatt, a Brit, describes Mumbai in a small clip from a documentary being made on his life, Rich in Bollywood. That's also how he describes himself, and it's no wonder that the 28-year-old actor and fitness trainer says that he has effortlessly integrated into the city. "So many don't like it. People ask questions like, 'What about the traffic, what about the pollution?' I don't even think of these things. The way Mumbai is, is the way I am, and how I love my life—hectic, unorganised and yet fun and exciting. So, it's a perfect fit," he tells us over the phone from Bengaluru, where he is shooting at the moment. "I have ADHD and the city is also like that, right? So, it agrees with me."
Rich in Bollywood is being made by Lovatt's cousin and well-known Canada-based filmmaker Nicolas Levesque, who rang Lovatt up one day and said, "Let's do this." "He got a grant to make a film, and he zeroed in on my story. I think it's kind of a different story for international audiences. So, it made sense to do it. Nicolas is known for doing this kind of real-life tales," says Lovatt, who belongs to Huddersfield in the UK, and came to India in 2014 to start training Bollywood stars. Ever since, he has trained Sushant Singh Rajput, Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, among many others. But, if you expect his Instagram to be full of fitness videos—and he is ripped enough to be flaunting his body—prepare to be shocked. His feed is full of funny videos, which have him either unboxing, or giving advice (on anything under the sun), or even singing. It's almost like a mini showreel, where he portrays different emotions and expressions. Also, his Hindi is better than most of us. "I tried to take a few classes, but those were not working for me. So the Hindi I do speak, I have just picked up either from talking to people or reading scripts. Even making the videos has been great practise," he says. We especially love the video where he talks about the monsoon and sings Yeh Baarish Ka Paani, and the one with advice about the three cars to never buy in India, where the Skoda Laura tops the list (watch the video to know why). The documentary is made up of all this and more: his fitness and Bollywood career, and life in general trying to get by in Mumbai.
Ask him about Bollywood, and the moments that have excited him the most have been the ones when he has been shooting. "Meeting Shah Rukh Khan was great. I didn't even know who he was, and then I got to slam him against a wall. Even spending time with Irrfan Khan and just chatting about everything was great," says the actor, who has done bit roles in movies like Fan, Ki & Ka and now will be seen next in the Sonam Kapoor-starrer The Zoya Factor. He may have been only doing the Bollywood thing for a few years now, but the audition process already seems to have tired him out. "You think you have given the best audition in the world, and the casting director also says 'yes, that was great'. But then it never follows through. And then I get very disappointed. It's all very cliquey here. So now, when people call me and ask for a video, I say no. Then they say 'the budget is low', so I tell them not to waste my time. I only go for it if it's word of mouth and I know there is a real shot of me getting a role," he says.
Lovatt says the documentary's take-away would be simple: it's that even a foreigner like him, who he says is not treated any differently in Mumbai, is almost an Indian himself. "There is nothing special in the way I am living here. There is no special struggle. It's just a normal life, where a person is going about his work. Audiences, who will watch the documentary either in India or internationally, will know that for me, India is just like any other country in the world."
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