Bollywood actor Vidyut Jammwal can never forget the adrenaline high that he felt while running wild with the elephants.
Not many actors can stake claim to such daredevilry, but Jammwal — who famously does his own movie stunts — can.
He channels his inner Tarzan in his latest family action adventure, ‘Junglee’, out in the UAE on March 28.
Set against the murky backdrop of illicit wildlife trade, a ripped Jammwal, who shares a special bond with his friends from the wild, takes on a bunch of evil, greedy men.
“Those animals are the true stars of ‘Junglee’,” said Jammwal in an interview.
‘Junglee’ is directed by Hollywood filmmaker Chuck Russell with hits such as ‘The Mask’ and ‘The Scorpion King’ to his credit.
Jammwal gives his take on ...
‘Junglee’: “It’s an action adventure film made specially for children and families. It’s educational without attempting to be too preachy. It’s a tale about how to live in harmony keeping in mind the situations and circumstances we are faced with and how to be in sync with planet Earth.”
On being directed by Chuck Russell: “My director was very sure that we had to make an entertaining film which conveys a message in a fun and an entertaining manner. He wanted to show how we can live in harmony with nature and put an end to the poaching business. To start with, ‘Junglee’ will make you aware that poaching is one of the biggest rackets in the world. We have conveyed that message in a simple way. It’s a story of friendship and how my friend, an elephant, is in trouble. Like any good friend would do, I step up to help someone who’s going through turmoil in his life. Within the prism of friendship, we have shown how you shouldn’t buy ivory. Getting an animal killed for just an accessory or an embellishment in your home is insane and shouldn’t be tolerated.”
Precautions he took while working alongside wild animals: “The number one precaution is knowing that they are much stronger than you and that realisation will make you respect all the boundaries that you need to conform to. For example, if the animals feel like sleeping, then you allow them to sleep. If they are not in the mood to do something, you don’t compel them to work. All the shots in our film were designed as per their convenience. The animals are the stars of the movie. If they felt like being in the water, we used to take them to the water and shoot sequences that required us to be in water.”
Whether it was nerve-wracking to work with wild animals: “The creatures are really big and they may scare you with their size. But they are gentle if they don’t feel threatened. They will rattle you only when they feel they are in danger.”
On martial art Kalaripayattu helping him with stunts: “It’s a martial art form with a section that’s entirely dedicated to how to be with animals and how to behave with them. There’s even a ritual in Kalaripayattu which tells you how to imbibe all the goodness in animals. Kalariyapayattu helped me a lot in making me understand about respecting elephants. Plus, doing my own stunts gives me a great sense of high.”
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Junglee is out in the UAE on March 28.
VIDYUT JAMMWAL ON DIETING
Vidyut Jammwal, who has one of the most toned bodies in Bollywood, dismissed fad diets that are extremely restrictive or eliminate food groups.
“They are all myths… carbohydrate is the food for the brain. If you don’t eat carbs, you will always be irritated, angry and depressed. Plus, zero sugar and zero salt is not healthy for you in the long run,” said Jamwal in an interview.
He doesn’t subscribe to the ‘abs being made in the kitchen’ fitness theory either.
“Abs are made through sheer hard work and not some kitchen. If you eat sweets, then make sure that you eat a little bit of it. If you feel like having a gulab jamun, then have half or one of the balls. Don’t gobble 10 of them in one go,” he added.
Jammwal is also keen on mixing things up when it comes to his fitness routines.
“There are days when I do animal movements or days when I just focus on gymnastics or weight and strength training. There are days when I train in kick-boxing and punches. I love surprising my body,” said Jammwal.