Mumbai: Meet Darshan Kumar, who plays the role of K. Onler, the husband of Mary Kom opposite Priyanka Chopra in the film of the same name. Darshan says, “I was interested in theatre in Delhi. Later, I shifted to Mumbai and joined Neena Gupta and then Nasseruddin Shah’s theatre groups.”
How did he bag Mary Kom? He says, “I was finalised after a series of auditions and meetings. In the audition, I played different phases in the life of Onler, a footballer, Mary’s best friend, guide and her husband.”
Darshan was naturally nervous on Day 1 of the shoot. “On the first day, Onler had to propose to Mary. You know, how nervous boys get when they approach a girl. So, my nervousness helped. My director, Omung, is one intelligent man. That’s why he kept this shot first.”
Talking about his co-star, Darshan says, “Priyanka is very supportive. Quite inspirational as well. She would shoot for 13 hours a day and then practise boxing for two-three hours at night.” But amid mazaak on the set, he never crossed the line “or Priyanka would punch me in the face and knock me out,” he laughs.
To get into Onler’s character, Darshan was put on high-protein diet to be able to shed 12 kilos. Not just that, he had to also pick-up Manipuri language.
At the music launch of the film recently, Darshan finally got to meet the real Onler, who, in turn, complimented him: “You have done a terrific job as Onler, honestly.”
Darshan says, “There is a saying that behind every successful man there is a woman and in Mary and Onler’s case it is the other way around. So, in the film, Priyanka is the ‘Shero’ and I am the hero.”
Though Darshan makes his film debut with Mary Kom, he bagged Anushka Sharma’s NH10 first.