With a scene in I Love You requiring her to stay underwater for over two minutes, Rakul breaks down the rigorous prep that went into it
Rakul Preet Singh
Rakul Preet Singh’s Instagram feed, dotted with pictures of the sun, sand and surf, indicates that she is a water baby. Despite that, preparing for the role of a seasoned swimmer in I Love You didn’t come easy. A crucial sequence of the JioCinema romantic thriller — that also stars Pavail Gulati and Akshay Oberoi — required Singh to stay underwater for two-and-a-half minutes. Even when writer-director Nikhil Mahajan discussed the role’s nitty-gritty with her, he emphasised the need for her to train rigorously before filming the scene.
We hear the high-tension sequence arrives at a crucial juncture in the narrative. The actor reveals that she began her physical prep in mid-November before shooting the portion in suburban Mumbai in mid-December. While she was adept at the different strokes in swimming, she had to perfect her techniques. “I worked with a scuba instructor, Zahaan Adenwala, who trains people in diving. He trained me to hold my breath underwater for two minutes 30 seconds; that is the duration we were aiming for. I trained every day for one month,” she shares. Singh adds that her training enabled to gain a deep understanding of the physical as well as mental demands of being a swimmer.
But training wasn’t the only hard part. Filming the sequence turned out to be an equally demanding experience. Recounting how the portion was shot over two nights, the actor highlights, “The biggest challenge to shoot the underwater sequence was that I was in water from 2 pm to 4 am. I was wet all day, and the water was very cold. After every shot, they would pour warm water over me so that my body does not go cold. The additional problem was that my eyes were burning due to the chlorine in the water. But I enjoyed the challenge because it helped me push myself.”