Kriti Sanon. (By Arrangement)
The filmmakers have kept Kriti Sanon’s role under wraps, but news is her character will have high octane action sequences to perform. She’s being trained in all kinds of martial arts for the film (Ganapath) by none other than Harsh Verma, the first Indian to be part of the Shaolin performing monks’ team.
Harsh reveals the training had started last year July (three months before the commencement of shooting) and since then it has been progressing in a phased manner.
Kriti Sanon with trainer Harsh Verma. (By Arrangement)
The actress was trained in boxing, karate, kickboxing, krav maga, Kung Fu, Muay Thai, etc. Since she is a fitness enthusiast, she has amazing reflexes, said Harsh, who was impressed with Kriti’s acrobatic stuff.
"Kriti is a good listener; she grasps things very quickly. The kind of martial arts she had performed in this film, will change her image totally and the audience — she will be called ‘action queen’ hereafter," says Harsh, adding, "The best aspect of Kriti is that she mirrors things well. She can seamlessly emulate the trainer’s moments. The effort she puts in is phenomenal."
Kriti apparently believes in repetition of moments — to master the moments to get to the next level, and she is always hungry to learn, says Harsh.
Injury is part and parcel of any training. During the process Kriti was injured several times. She suffered from bruises and cuts, but Harsh shares that she took it in her stride and pushed herself. "As a professional trainer when there’s an injury I need to be extremely careful while practising. I had to avoid making her practise similar moments, and Kriti too, gave her 100 per cent," shares Harsh.
According to him, Kriti doesn’t like sitting at home with an injury, so despite the tough times, she was self motivated to learn all the techniques and alignment.
The actress apparently received physiotherapy treatment when she was injured while practising. "I wanted her to recuperate naturally so that she gets more power in her comeback. We wanted her to try remedies for natural healing, so I was constantly monitoring her condition," he reveals, adding that Kriti has two more sessions to complete in martial arts training.
Since Kriti was new to the training, she had to watch videos of the martial arts. She had to learn the training for her character within the stipulated time, and this, according to Harsh, is challenging for actors.
"Generally, many learn the combat sport for self defence, or to be an achiever in the same category. But since Kriti’s motive is to play a character, to have an achiever’s mindset in a short span of time is very difficult; it is very taxing psychologically," asserts Harsh while hailing her efforts as commendable.
Regarding Kriti’s approach to training, Harsh says that she knew what exactly she had to do. She did a lot of groundwork like collecting martial arts training material.
"She employed a very open yet clinical approach to the training. I too supplemented with additional material and references which we can use in the film. The filmmakers too shared photographs about the kind of fights they wanted to do. So we had great communication and understanding which made the training easy," says the 27-year old Shaolin trainer.
Since Kriti is tall, she was also trained in certain moments that a lanky person is supposed to do. And Harsh says that most of the training went informally as they discussed various aspects of fitness. "Kriti had to get trained in all styles of martial arts movements. Certain body movements like squatting, bending the knee, 360 degree turn to get the posture right, etc., were challenging," comments Harsh, but states that the actress was flexible in her approach. "Hence, she kept becoming better as the training progressed," he comments, signing off.