Kunal Kapoor – Man On A Mission

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Actor Kunal Kapoor seems to have found a fountain of youth, which he shrugs off as good genes. We probe further.

 

Kunal Kapoor’s fitness goal is to constantly challenge himself and break barriers. He has a diary, where he writes down about his workout, how many sets he did, and how many repetitions he did basically what he did well and he didn’t. His aim? To challenge my previous record. The actor, who has surprised his audience by playing diverse roles in his acting career, loves to surprise himself with new training regimes. As he gets down to write his next script, he tells us in a freewheeling interview that fitness is a never-ending process for him.


Q- What’s keeping you busy these days?
A- A lot of things actually. I’ve just started working for my next film. The shoot starts in December. The role is very different from anything I’ve done so far. It’s challenging and requires a lot of homework and prep work. I’m also writing three scripts right now, which are different from each other. I’ve been writing since I was an assistant director, which is about 20 years back. Ever since, I’ve been looking to turn these short stories into scripts. It first began with Love Shuv te Chicken Khurana, which was an idea that me and director Sameer Sharma came up with. And then Sumit, the writer came onboard and took the idea further. Besides that, I have a tech company, Ketto that takes up a lot of time. When we started the company six years back, crowd funding was something that wasn’t very popular, but now, people’s perceptions towards crowd funding has changed and the company has grown a lot. I’m also shifting homes, setting up the house with my wife Naina.

Q- You haven’t aged a day since the first time we saw you on screen. What’s the secret?
A- My answer to that is genetics. Besides that, I also take my fitness very seriously. I sleep well, make sure to eat well, start my day with an hour of meditation. It centers me. So, I might be a combination of genetics and a healthy lifestyle.

Q- Do you have a good metabolism?
A- Yes! In fact, my metabolism is like Usain Bolt on steroids. It’s incredibly fast. I’m one of those who has to eat every two hours. If I don’t, I start losing a lot of weight.

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I’m one of those who has to eat every two hours. If I don’t, I start losing a lot of weight.

Q- For your role in Veeram, you trained in traditional martial arts. How long did it take you to master it?
A- I don’t think I can say that I’ve mastered it. But, the martial art that I learnt was Kalaripayattu. I practiced kalari when I was about 18 years old for a couple of years, but have lost touch. For Veeram, I trained with an expert from Kerala for about four and a half months for about three hours every morning. Besides the training, I did an hour of sword fighting working with an urmi, a flexible sword, which is very difficult to control. It took very long to get good at. There were lots of nicks, bruises, aches and pains. It was a film that I put my heart, soul, blood and sweat into.

Q- What is your fitness regime like Do you like to experiment with new training routines?
A- Yes. I always experiment with new training routines. I get bored of doing the same thing over and over again. For me, fitness training has to be not only physically challenging, but also mentally challenging. I constantly surprise my body as well as mind. My training regime is a combination of martial arts, yoga, gym sessions and lots of cardio, such as cycling, running on the beach.

Q- What is your take on extreme body transformation?
A- I don’t think anybody should undertake an extreme body transformation unless it is for a role. As actors, sometimes you are called upon to dramatically change your body. But, it’s important to do it under strict supervision of your trainer and dietitian. A lot of people undergo extreme transformations and their body pays a big price for that. So, be very careful.

Kunal Kapoor

A lot of people undergo extreme transformations and their body pays a big price for that. So, be very careful.

Q- Would you rather train at the gym or go for a run outdoors?
A- Definitely going for a run outdoors on Juhu beach. When I travel, I try to find the closest park to run. I live on the eighth floor and whenever possible, I take the stairs instead of the lift.

Q- Who is your trainer? How has training helped you?
A- My trainer Prameet Kotak runs RAPTFX training centre. We train for about two and a half hours, three times a week, centered around functional training. What I love about training with him is that I don’t know what’s going to come next. So, every day is a new exercise, new challenges sort of thrown at me in each workout.

Q- Are you a picky eater?
A- No, I’m not a picky eater. I’m a foodie. I grew up in a house full of foodies and my mom was an amazing cook. I experiment with my food, trying different cuisines.

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I grew up in a house full of foodies and my mom was an amazing cook. I experiment with my food, trying different cuisines.

Q- What do you eat when you are shooting for a film?
A- It depends on where we are shooting. If I have access to great restaurants or food that I am looking for, I go for it. Sometimes, when we are shooting in small towns where certain food that is not available, so, I eat the food at the shoot. Also, a person travels with me, who meets the chefs of the hotel we are staying at. He discusses my preferences with the chef and get meals for the entire day.

Q- You have admitted to have a sweet tooth. Do you try to curb it or indulge yourself?
A- Yes, I do have the worst sweet tooth in the world. It is my biggest weakness. When I’m shooting and I need to look really ripped, I have to curb, otherwise, I enjoy indulging myself. I don’t deprive myself of it, but eat in moderation.

Q- Do you think keeping fit is more than just a physical need?
A- Yes, I think keeping fit not only makes you feel good physically, but also mentally and emotionally. We have a myopic view on what fitness means. Fitness is not only just going to the gym and lifting some weight, it is a combination of many things: you’ve got to be agile, flexible, strong. Fitness is also mental. There’s no point in having a really strong body, when you are weak mentally and emotionally. We have to look at fitness as a holistic plan. It can’t be limited to losing weight to fit into a pair of jeans. Fitness has to be a lifestyle.

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It can’t be limited to losing weight to fit into a pair of jeans. Fitness has to be a lifestyle.

Q- How do you ensure that excessive travelling for work does not hinder your fitness and diet?
A- It is very difficult. When you’re travelling a lot, it becomes far more difficult to make sure that your diet is in place and your fitness is in place. But, I think there’s ways you can overcome that. You can sometimes just take half an hour off and do a few push ups, sit-ups in the house, go for a run and take the stairs. A lot of times when I’m travelling outside the country, I hire a cycle and try to get from one place to the other on it. It’s easier when I am in a place where I have access to restaurants and fitness centres.

Q- How does a day off in your life look
like?
A- A day off would actually be just lying around in bed, reading something. I can’t read one book at a time and end up reading two to three books at the same time. I love hanging around in the house with my wife, with my dog and reading.

Q- What is your idea of relaxation?
A- My idea of relaxation is writing, sitting alone and penning my thoughts. I also fly planes and race cars in rally school near Bombay.

Q- You seem to have been careful with the films that you choose. Is there a checklist in your head when you are reading a script?
A- Yes, I do. First the story and script is exciting to me or not? Secondly, if I have played this character before. There is a tendency in this industry to typecast people. I’ve always made an effort to try and do something which is different from what I’ve done last. For me, acting is attractive because it gives me a chance to enter a new mindset. I also see how passionate are the people making the film. I’m drawn to filmmakers, who put a lot of hard work and passion into their project.

Q- What all has changed since the last time I met you (and Cyrus Sahukar) during Fox Life series promotion?
A- I think I grew an inch taller and I’m not even joking. I know it’s a little difficult to grow at this age but, I really feel like I’m growing taller.

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know it’s a little difficult to grow at this age but, I really feel like I’m growing taller.

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