Actors gaining or shedding kilos to get into the skin of their characters seem to be a regular affair in Bollywood and Hollywood. Aamir Khan piled on the kilos and then lost it for his role of a wrestler in Dangal. Recently, Randeep Hooda looked almost emaciated after shedding 18 kilos for Sarabjit. What Bollywood can do, Mollywood can do better! Consequently, we have a host of films that require the lead actors to either gain or lose weight for their roles.
Transforming the body may sound simple but there is a whole lot of gruelling workouts and sweat behind the lean or chiselled physiques. It also helps that the younger generation of actors are more aware of fitness as a way of life than hitting the gym when a role demands a certain look.
The notion that everything is handed over to a star on a platter is a very mistaken belief. In fact actors have to go to great lengths to achieve the look that their character demands. Unni Mukundan set off a trend amongst youngsters after dropping his weight from 95 to 69 kilos for his roles in The Last Supper and Vikramadityan.
Unni Mukundan working out
Unni states, "When actors lose weight, it is taken for granted that they have a lot of time or they have access to the best gyms and trainers, but the fact to be underlined in red is that no matter who does it, the effort, dedication, hard work and pain is the same.
"On the contrary, we actors lack time to mould our bodies to the requirements of the character. My role of a fit and muscled police officer in Vikramadityan was my motivation to completely overhaul my physique. "It took five-and-a-half months of strict diet and disciplined workouts to lose the extra weight."
Unni also adds that losing weight and building a fit body are two different things. He says, "When I lost 25 kilos of body fat, I gained 18 kilos of muscle." Unni lost weight for his film KL 10 and then gained some for the film Style. Soon after, he lost weight again for Oru Murai Vanthu Parthaya and he says that since he has been working out for the past few years, body transformations are relatively easier.
Another young star who is hitting the gym with a vengeance for his role as a wrestler in the film Godha is Tovino Thomas. While stating that he has only reached halfway, Tovino opines, "When you want to change your physique, what you need is a copious amount of time. By time, I don’t mean only the time to work out, but also time to rest and sleep. When you are transforming your body, it is a strain both mentally and physically; so you need time to recuperate. In Mollywood, shoots start at 6 am and go on till 7 pm and when other people hit the sleep, I hit the gym. I love food but because of the demands of my workout, I have to forgo my favourites. I am a lazy person, so a religious workout routine needs immense willpower. I am also not a person who wants an instant six pack but I prefer a natural looking, fit body with intake of natural food, so that takes time and the result may not be all that spectacular. I have been inspired by Hollywood stars with fit bodies but here, we do not have the luxury of time. "
Tovino in the gym
Recently, Jayaram lost 20 kilos for his role in the film Aadupuliyattom and he adds that his role was the reason for him to shed the pounds. He says, "The role was my excuse to hit the gym not that a little paunch would have affected the character. I worked out with my son’s trainer in our home gym and achieved the dual benefits of working out with Kalidas and getting trim!"
Jayasurya is also known for his body transformations to get into the skin of his character. Shwetha Menon has lost oodles of weight for her role in Naval Enna Jewel. Raai Lakshmi had to gain and then lose weight for her role in the Bollywood Julie 2. Does all this weight loss and gain play havoc on the body?
Anju Antony, woman Instructor of Passion Fitness Studio opines, "Over a period of time, this weight gain and loss can be unhealthy because you are pushing your body too much and giving it a shock. It is ok if you are just increasing your body muscle mass but if you binge and then put on weight, you are increasing your fat and losing that suddenly is not good. The negative effects will be seen on the body in the long run."