Kartik Aaryan with director Kabir Khan
Kartik Aaryan with director Kabir Khan

Can go to any length for a role, says Karthik Aaryan

The actor speaks to Shama Bhagat about his new film 'Chandu Champion', losing 20 kilos for the role, and his learnings from the project

Why do you think Chandu Champion is an important film?

This is a film about an unsung hero—Murlikant Petkar, India’s first Paralympic gold medalist, and his story had to be told. There are many such unsung heroes in our country, and I feel these stories should be made into films so that more people can watch them and learn about their inspiring stories.

Tell us how you prepared for the role.

When Kabir sir approached me with the script, he told me that I would have to dedicate my entire time to this role.

He is into a lot of detailing, so he handpicked trainers, physiotherapist, boxers and swimmers, who have represented India, to train me. They completely changed my regime. I had gained weight for Freddy and Satyaprem Ki Katha, and they wanted me to lose all that weight and get muscled up.

It took about a year and a half. I lost nearly 20 kilos. I had 37 per cent fat, which I brought down seven per cent. I was training from morning to night. I would begin the day with gym sessions, followed by boxing, and ultimately end with swimming. Now that I have become fit, I will continue this routine because it makes me feel good.

Do you consider this film to be a turning point in your career?

Hundred per cent. Irrespective of the results, I will always be proud of this film, and I know people will love it. I have already got the reward as people are appreciating the trailer and the look. It has also changed my lifestyle and thought process by giving me a lot of me time. I used it to introspect about what I want to do in life now, and that has made me a better person.

What are some of your learnings from the film?

I am in love with my craft more than ever now. I have been known for comedy and romantic movies, but I have realised that I equally enjoy telling powerful stories. It’s just that no one approached me with such films earlier. Murlikant Petkar’s tagline was ‘the man who refused to surrender’, and it has had a huge impact on me.

I could relate to his unwavering determination to achieve his goal, and how he kept working towards it despite all the obstacles.

What if you are now offered a role that requires you to put on weight?

I had to work hard to lose all the weight, but I am ready to go to any lengths for a role.

a still from Chandu Champion
a still from Chandu Champion

What games do you play and how much of an athlete are you?

I have been an athlete all my life, but was I never kept track of my diet or nutrition.

I did exercise, but it was simply to stay fit. I play football—centre forward—and cricket sometimes, but it was never competitive. I was also not into swimming or boxing.

I had to learn professional swimming for the film, and I shot in an Olympic stadium. It was a dream come true.

How much do you believe in box-office results? Does it affect you?

I believe in box-office success. My last success will create expectations for my forthcoming films. Every film has its own journey as the genres are different, and they have their own factors for being a success or failure, so I try not to take a lot of pressure. If the film generates profit, it’s of course a win. I have never done a film like Chandu Champion, so even if it doesn’t become a box-office success, in my mind it’s a hit. It’s the story of an underdog and frankly, I didn’t expect such great reactions after the trailer. I hope the audience enjoys it.

The New Indian Express