Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s upcoming sports drama Toofaan is creating a lot of buzz online. People who are fans of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are especially looking forward to it. They are expecting yet another power-packed performance from Farhan Akhtar, who’s been pushing the limits of his physical fitness with each new film.
While preparing to play Milkha Singh on screen, he took merely 11.9 seconds to complete a 100 metre race. To give you perspective, Usain Bolt holds the world record in this category with 9.58 seconds! Such dedication, simply to portray a character on screen, is rare to come by.But then again, a talent like Farhan Akhtar is rare to come by. He doesn’t make movies, but masterpieces that go down in history. Whether it’s Dil Chahta Hai, Rock On or Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, his work has always made a dent in the world.
Coming back to Toofaan, which is currently in its promotional stage, he had to fight real-life pro-level boxing champions in the ring. Unlike running, he had zero understanding of this sport and had to learn it from scratch. All he had was eight months to look convincing on celluloid. Going by the trailer, it’s evident that he’s given his all in this short span of time. No shortcuts whatsoever.
AskMen India shares the complete details of his training:
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From the get go, Farhan knew that he was going to get punched several times while shooting. What he didn’t know is how to take that gracefully, and stand back tall. That’s where his fight coordinator, Darrell Foster, stepped in.
In his recent interview with Film Companion, Farhan was asked if he feared getting punched in the face by professional boxers while filming Toofaan, and multiple times at that, since he’s an actor and his face is, in a sense, his fortune. To this he replied, “No, I absolutely loved it” with a big smile. If he ever got hit badly, he would shift his focus to getting his opponent back in the next round. Isn’t this a wonderful metaphor for life?
The dreaded boxing drills
Farhan Akhtar took to his Instagram to share what it was like training for Toofaan. The prep started in March 2019 and went on for eight months. During this time, Farhan had to wake up at 5am in the morning six days a week. He would dread the monster of a drill session waiting for him, and often contemplated giving a silly excuse to sleep in.
However, his trainer Darrell Foster instilled in him a great respect for discipline, without which making progress was impossible. Farhan soon found himself engrossed in the sport and evolving as a boxer.
After training in boxing in the morning, Farhan would be sent for physiotherapy, which helped revive his muscles and reduce soreness. This included everything from stretching his entire body and getting a massage to soaking his limbs in ice water. Afternoons were dedicated to rest and recovery so that he could give his all in his evening workout.
Core strength and footwork
In the evening, Farhan would have a strength training session with Samir Jaura, who was also his coach during Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. He helped him bulk up like a boxer. His routine comprised a lot of core work, like battle rope training, ab rollers and reverse crunches.
However, leg days were the most difficult part of his training. In order to be light and quick on his feet while boxing in the ring, he did everything from skipping to heavyweight leg presses, as well as agility drills with the assistance of his kickboxing trainer, Drew Neal.
Weight gain tougher than weight loss?
Farhan was required to look fat in certain scenes of the film and while they did consider getting prosthetics, he felt that actually being in the headspace of a lazy and unmotivated person will only be possible if he lets himself loose and lives it.
So, he decided to gain 15 kilograms by reducing his physical activity and increasing his intake of fats, carbs and starch. Strangely enough, the actor found this tougher than getting in shape, as years of training has wired towards a healthy and disciplined lifestyle.
Hats off to Farhan for his hardwork and dedication, and for constantly raising the bar for actors all over. We can’t wait to watch Toofaan on the 16th of July on Amazon Prime Video. Hoping you will tune in too!
Cover artwork by Dhaval Punatar/AskMen India
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