A beautifully-executed fight sequence in Neeraj Pandey’s Akshay Kumar-starrer Baby (2015) led Taapsee Pannu to bag her solo spy outing, Naam Shabana, which traces the journey of a young girl’s induction into the country’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
Being the protagonist in an actioner demands a fair share of physical training, one that Taapsee, who admits to bruising like a peach and feeling guilty to smash people, terms excruciating.
The actress prepping for the film
For three months, the actress adhered to a rigorous schedule that paired high-intensity plyometric workouts with strength and functional exercises, along with cardiovascular bouts.
“I continued learning Krav Maga (self-defence system), which I trained in for Baby (2015), and the basics of Aikido and Mixed Martial Arts. It knocked the wind out of me. It was hard. Barring a weeklong break, I trained for two hours every day over a three- month period. I had to get my body accustomed to the point that the action looked effortless.”
Shabana is a regular girl who is selected for the training, much like the actress herself. “The trajectory of her transformation is similar to what I underwent. There was more hand combat and less aerial work, and the former is harder to pull off.”
The actress fixed her diet to include nutritious food and eliminate gluten and lactose. The Punjabi in her craved paranthas, but she would indulge in them only “once a week”.
“I ensured that they were made with a mixture of 10 different types of flour, including jowar, ragi, soya, bajra and rice,” she says, quick to point out that crash-dieting isn’t for her. “I am someone who knows her body and accepts it completely.”
She admits she missed out on greasy grub, but adds, “Steering clear of temptation, when a film like this comes knocking at your door, was easy.”
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