Kickboxing champion Saurav Singh Gurjar plays Bhim on Tewary Brothers’ Mahabharat. For Saurav, who hails from Champal in Madhya Pradesh, it has been a long journey to Mumbai. He says he was spotted by the makers of the mythological epic when he was a part of the show Ring Ka King. But despite his martial arts prowess, transitioning into the role of the mighty Pandav prince was not easy.
“Before playing Bhim’s character, I had to put on 15 kg. I weighed 120 kg and I had to go up to 145. And let me tell you, it was quite a struggle. I am a pure vegetarian and had I been at home, it would have been easier, but here it was tough.”
Four litres of milk, 12-14 chapattis, rice and 35 eggs! That’s the diet Saurav claims to have followed to increase his weight , and seeing his bulky physique, we don’t have reason to disbelieve him!
But far more challenging than piling on the pounds, says Saurav, was facing the cameras for the first time. “When I came to Mumbai for the first workshop (for the show) and faced the cameras for the first time, I thought I should go right back home!” he recounted. “I have played national and international games and never got scared of any of the fighters I’ve had to face. But looking at the camera for first time, I started shivering!”
His new TV show has meant a newfound fan following back in his hometown, and Saurav told us about a recent visit back there: “I had gone home for the New Year and as I reached my village, thousands of people came to welcome me. When I made my entry on Mahabharat, all the villagers sat together and watched my show. Earlier, they called me Saurav — now they call me Bhim,” he said.
Back in Mumbai after his break, Saurav has been taking acting lessons with Rajat Kapoor.
Then there were other lessons — like training in horse riding for eight months — that Saurav had to undertake to enact his part....