Having kicked off Rashmi Rocket shoot earlier this week, Taapsee Pannu says she is taking cues from Dutee Chand, Hima Dass careers for athlete act.
Pannu during her training in Pune. PPC/Tejinder Singh Khamkha
Every day is admittedly a challenge for Taapsee Pannu, who has shed the lockdown lethargy and hit the running track with a vengeance. The actor kicked off the shoot of Rashmi Rocket in Pune earlier this week. While the Akarsh Khurana-directed venture was to originally roll in March-end in Kutch, the pandemic not only put the brakes on the impending shoot, but also on Pannu's rigorous two-month prep for her sprinter act.
"I had to start from scratch when I resumed my training," exclaims Taapsee Pannu, who began training anew in September while shooting for Haseen Dillruba and her upcoming Tamil film. "I had trained from January to March for the film but through the lockdown it was hard to maintain the fitness levels. Gyms were shut and there were limited resources at home. Training after lockdown is mentally exhausting. I was shooting for my Tamil film, Haseen Dilruba and simultaneously training. Food limitations are far too many. My body went through quite a shock because the diet was completely altered. The one thing I was clear, though, was that I will never take any steroids. I have achieved my fitness in the healthiest way possible. It's not about hitting a mark and then giving it up. Fitness is a lifestyle choice and I don't want to do something that has far reaching side effects. There's more to life than a film. This is my job and I love it but I will never want to do something to my body that I will regret all my life. It took more effort, more work and to achieve this physique in three months."
The actor credits her fitness army – gym coach Sujeet Kargutkar, track trainer Melwyn Crasto, physiotherapist Prachi Shah and nutritionist Munmun Ganeriwal – for seeing her through the phase. "Sujeet's patience at my lack of doing heavy weightlifting is amazing. Melwyn has been a coach in Indian railways; he trained Farhan [Akhtar] in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag . After every day, after the strenuous workout, Prachi saves me. Munmun makes sure I am eating the right meals," she says, noting that the producers have invested deeply in her training. "It's a big scale film. The producers have monetarily and emotionally invested in me and shown such faith and patience, that I don't want to let them down."
Dutee Chand and Hima Das
Though the movie is a fictional story about a Kutch-based girl who discovers her athletic prowess, Pannu is drawing inspiration from sprinters Dutee Chand and Hima Das. "I have been observing Indian and international athletes and their running patterns, body forms and style. If it were a biopic, the approach would have been different. This is inspired by real incidents that happened to sprinters. The film touches on many aspects – from the society's response to female athletes to the politics of the sporting universe. Most of my films question the elephant in the room, and this will be no exception."
Alternating Rashmi Rocket with Loop Lapeta, Pannu is booked out for the next 6 months. "After February I start Anurag Kashyap's film and then I move to Shabash Mithu. There are a few announcements in the pipeline as well," she says, signing off.
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