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Running Raj covers miles in minutes

5 Weddings director on how “fittest man” Rao pulled-off a long chase sequence without as much as breaking a sweat for the romantic drama Upala KBR

His fervent desire to become the part he essays on screen has led Rajkummar Rao to undergo abundant physical and emotional transformations. It may be argued that his characteristic roles — of a man deprived of food when trapped in his apartment (Trapped), or that of a heftier Subhas Chandra Bose for the web series Bose: Dead/Alive —warrant such alterations. Yet, even the part of a humble Punjabi police official in 5 Weddings had the actor get out of his comfort zone.

American producer-director- actor Namrata Singh Gujral tells Mid-day that the actor pulled off a two-mile run for the film, despite being offered a body double to perform the act. “It helped me stay in character,” the actor simply reasons, even though Gujral offers a deeper insight into the scene.

“We shot at the Chandigarh International Airport. The scene in question sees him attempt to stop his love interest [Nargis Fakhri] from leaving India for America. The sequence needed him to run for a couple of miles and he insisted on doing so himself. In fact, he even repeated it as many times as needed to acquire the perfect shot. Rajkummar is so fit that even after running for over two miles, he needed to pretend to be out of breath for the cameras,” says the director.

Asserting that his lithe-looking frame can be deceiving, Gujral insists that he underwent no physical alteration to pull off the sequence. The stint, she promises, is a reflection of his natural fitness level. “He is the fittest guy I know. He is a vegetarian, but has muscles akin to my husband, who is a steak and potato eater. If they remake Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, they should cast him. He will finish the film in one day, without breaking into a sweat.”

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