Bollywood actor and an excellent fitness role-model Sonu Sood gave insights for his fitness regime. He also talks about J. P. Dutta and his recently released war film Paltan. Sonu who is seen playing the character of Col. Bishan Singh.
You will be playing Col. Bishan Singh's role, what are the preparations for the character from your side?
My mother was an English and History Professor and when I started for my first Tamil film, she gave me a book 'How to learn Tamil', later while I was gearing up for Jodha Akbar, she gave me a book regarding Moghuls, and I have always been fond of history since we had a huge library which had English and history books.
When I want to do a film I do my homework and I always find some or the other dialogues and references. It has also helped me in Manikarnika, now for Paltan also I've been doing the same. When I had my mother by my side she used to help me with books and today I have to do it on my own, now I realize that through her books I can portray her thoughts on big-screen.
While I was scanning through books about Indian Army, there was a lot which I got to know and when you reach on the sets with J. P. Dutta shaab where there are real bullets, real soldiers, you suddenly realize that you are already on a war-zone. Mjr. Bishan Singh is also known ad Tiger Nathulla as Chinese were scared of him, he was very aggressive while fighting. He offered a lot during the war and because of him today Sikkim is a part of India.
You are widely known for your fitness, and you're quite famous for your fitness videos, what is your fitness regime?
Since my college days, my day starts off by exercise, and now that there have been many forms I'm always trying to achieve more and more forms and I experiment a lot and there's no limit for fitness and I always feel that I am a step behind.
Now that there are so many actors on the path to achieving fitness goals, which form do you find difficult to exercise?
Apart from fitness, exercise and going to the gym I feel maintaining a diet is very very important. You can't work-out in the gym and eat whatever you want.
I remember while I was leaving for Ladak I was told that it takes 3-4 days to get acclimatized to the climate, you need to drink water you need to stay in hotel, can't go out, it might be dangerous, while I got out from Hyderabad I reached the set, the shoot started with running shots and everyone seemed amazed to see me running.
Everyone asked me are you all right, do you have a headache? While everyone had oxygen cylinders in their room I never had one. And for the next 3-4 months, nothing happened to me, touch-wood. And I feel the year of fitness training which helped me survive the climate there.
What was the most intense shot for you, while shooting for Paltan?
During climax there is an emotion while your brothers(Jawan) die during the war we tend to cry, I was actually crying during the scene and JP sir asked me to cry less since you are playing the role of major and he should be a bit emotionless.
While we were shifting towards a new location Jawans asked me how do you cry so much? At that time I realized that you don't need glycerin to make you cry it is only your emotions which overflow, and it's all because of the brotherhood that the Jawans have. And all of a sudden you get into the zone wherein you do not realize that you are in a film, that is the emotion which is difficult to get out of since your mood is off. And you have a soft side towards your brothers who give up their lives for the country.
While we mourn them for 3-4 days over social media; their families mourn for the rest of their lives.
Kung Fu Yoga which was a huge hit, but when it came to box office numbers it didn't do well, as an actor personally does box office numbers matter to you?
Jackie Chan films have a certain market in different regions, but kung fu yoga was noticed very well India because there was an Indian actor along with Jackie Chan and he has been the biggest box office number when it comes to China market it is a widely seen movie yet today. It was a great experience working with a legend whom we have grown watching his movies shoot with him live with him for a year when you are working with him I feel you're a changed person.
Your Manikarnika look has come out, what would you like to say about Manikarnika?
It has been a very important film as and it will be something that will certainly make you proud of and I play Sadashiv in the film. He was a very important personality in history as he fought Jhansi for his rights. But when the film comes we will have a lot to talk about.
How are you prepping up for Simmba?
I've got a lot of Marathi staff, I try to speak with them and rehearse my lines with them and make sure they are right. As in a Punjabi, it is very difficult for me to speak Marathi but when it comes to films I would give my best and make sure no soul is left unturned
The day you landed from Mumbai to Delhi that was the time you met JP sir for the first time what was the context?
Saif Ali Khan used to work out with me in a gym, you have to tell some producers or directors if you feel I can do a film, at that time he was working for LOC and that time he recommended my name to JP sahab he told him I look like an army guy and when I met jp sir he told me you are doing this movie but at the same time I had signed Bhagat Singh so I couldn't join the unit. So this is how I couldn't be a part of LOC.
How was your experience working with JP sahab?
He is an amazing guy he does a lot of homework for you. You sit with him talk to him half your JOb is done and kind of experience he has with war films that is the kind of experience you have with him.
As an actor do you have the box office pressure as the film doesn't do well with box office numbers these days?
I want films to do well for my producers for all the spot boys and the technicians who have worked really hard, for months and months. Yes, box office numbers do matter, but this is something which is not in our hands, we can just work hard we can give our best you can try to entertain people keep on working hard and hope for the best.
What is the initial thought process while reading scripts?
Sometimes it gives a tinker sometimes it doesn't, it declined best of directors and producers if it doesn't click it doesn't click. You cant be on set if it doesn't excite you it's better to say no and be in a peaceful space.
What sort of scripts excites you/ interest you?
When the script is being narrated in the 6-7 minutes you know this is the one. That's an instant thing. it's like the actor doesn't choose film the film chooses the actor.
What's more fulfilling down south or here?
I always try to maintain the balance while doing films. Now I will be completing 100 movies this year. I believe I'm just a beginner. I have an equal respect for both after Simba is again switching on to Tamil movie and I just completed a Kanada movie called Kurukshetra which is based on Mahabharat and I'm playing Arjun in that. Its always better to keep on switching from one language to another.
To date when you have a panoramic perspective of the entire journey?
I was always a boy from a small town with a lot of dreams in his eyes came to this city, not even a single soul that I knew I survived all these years I'm still surfing and I've miles to go and but the journey is on and completes all my dreams that are pending.