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Building a champion

Updated on: 28 May,2024 07:21 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Priyanka Sharma |

From training with Arjuna Award winner Khade in swimming to picking up wrestling and boxing, Kartik Aaryan chronicles perfecting three sports for Chandu Champion

Building a champion

Chandu Champion

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Building a champion

Chandu Champion marks many firsts for Kartik Aaryan. It’s not only his first collaboration with director Kabir Khan, but also the actor’s first biopic. Most importantly, it is his first project that demanded gruelling physical prep. As Aaryan stepped into the shoes of Murlikant Petkar, India’s first Paralympic gold medalist, he had to learn three different sports. “Preparing for the film was a thrilling challenge. I had to learn wrestling, boxing, and swimming—three different sports. Working on this film has made me push my limits, but I embraced the hard work and discipline,” says Aaryan.

Virdhawal Khade with Aaryan and director Kabir Khan
Virdhawal Khade with Aaryan and director Kabir Khan

The biopic spans decades of Petkar’s life, from his young days in Sangli to the subsequent grave injuries he suffered in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war and how he rose against the odds to win the gold medal in freestyle swimming in the 1972 Summer Paralympics. Since Petkar had an avid interest in wrestling in his growing-up days, Aaryan had to pick up the sport from scratch. While the actor trained in boxing for 14 months before the film went on floors in September 2023, he also worked with Arjuna Award-winning swimmer Virdhawal Khade for eight months to perfect swimming and emulate Petkar’s style. Chandu Champion could well be his most punishing film to date, but Aaryan cherished the hard work he put in, as he says, “Mastering each sport was tough, but it made the role even more rewarding.”

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