- How is Commando 2 shaping up?
We are trying to better everything that we’ve done in the first part. Producer Vipul Shah and I’ve been working really hard to get everything perfect. We are also putting in more hours. There will be a great love story added this time. I’ll be playing the same character that of Karan Dogra, an Indian commando; but this time he has a different mission. We’ll try out new action styles and we have a great stunt team in place. Since first movie was a hit, there are great expectations for the second one and thus, we are making it much bigger and better.
- Do you get nervous to shoot a fight scene or fight a Bollywood star?
All the time! When actors say that we rehearsed for action scene and did it easily, I don’t know how they do it because I’ve been trained for the last 30 years in my life and every stunt that I do or train for, I’ve gone through rigourous training otherwise you can get injured. But because of the nervousness, we try to be safe and cautious about not getting injured on the set.
- How do you prepare for the stunts?
When we train, we make a note of what all we’ve to do. We sit for 15 minutes every day, close our eyes and visualise everything zillions of times. People say to me that because you are trained for so long so you can do. But physical training is not the only thing. We first jot down everything on paper and then try to put that into action. For instance, if we are getting into a car window, we visualise it at least 100 times before doing it.
- Vipul Shah has passed on the director’s hat to Deven Bhojani for Commando 2. How was your experience working with him?
Deven Bhojani is a great actor and known for his comic acts in Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Office Office, Instant Khichdi and many others. He has directed a TV show calledPukar which had amazing action scenes. When we saw the series, we were very impressed and it was a great idea to use him as a director.
- Why do we have only a few heroines in Bollywood who do action?
We’ve fit and talented women in entertainment industry who can do great action. Priyanka Chopra, who played the role of a boxer in Mary Kom, did action very well. You could actually see the transformation in her. But I don’t know why we aren’t making action movies where actresses are given chance to show their action prowess. I would love to be in an action film where there is a woman doing better or equal action than me.
- Do you think that it’s because of your martial arts that got you into the film industry?
I’m a martial artist first and then an actor. I’m lucky that I got into movies because I did action. In India, what happens is actors become action heroes only if the movie demands and they have to learn it for a short duration. In my case, I am a martial artist and this has given me a lot of growth, apart from acting in films.
- How has your experience been doing action films thus far?
I ended up meeting a lot of people and exchange notes with the international action enthusiasts and stunt directors from abroad. The exposure has increased. When you meet people from different countries on the basis of the same integrity and respect, it feels very good.
- Any actor you would like to fight with on screen?
You can get me any Bollywood actor in the ring, I can fight anyone. Bring them on.
- Will India ever emerge as a martial art country?
I hope so. As Indians, we need to talk about Indian form of martial arts and promote it like we are promoting Yoga. In my own way, I promote Kalaripayattu which is a Kerala-based martial art form. Before I came into film industry, nobody knew that Kalaripayattu is an Indian martial arts form. People from all over come to Kerala to learn this form. The reason for our ignorance is that we don’t promote martial art as a school curriculum. I was a champion in my school and competed at the district in many forms like judo, taekwondo to Kalaripayattu.
- How much time does it take to do an action scene?
It depends how much have you rehearsed. It takes four months to just perfect the action. In Commando, there was a scene where I get into the car window. It had taken me six months to practice it. But when I did it on the sets, it had taken me two takes to get it right.
- Any other genre of films you would like to do?
It would be a lot of fun to do romance with comedy. I enjoy watching such movies the most.
(The article also got published in The Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/backpack/love-to-fight-with-actress.html)