You’ve seen the pictures, no doubt. The ones showcasing how Aamir Khan gained 97 kilos for his role as Mahavir Phogat in Dangal and then dropped 20 kgs for parts of the same film, that is.
The man behind both looks is Mahesh Bhatt’s son, Rahul. “It was my responsibility to lay out the blueprint for his physical coaching. The year I spent coaching him through his weight changes was a learning experience for me, though. I’ve not seen such fierce dedication and passion in anyone.”
So did Aamir follow Rahul’s instructions blindly? “Not at all. Aamir has an encyclopaedic mind. He absorbs and filters facts according to his requirements. He listens carefully. He can differentiate between fact and conjecture.
Training would begin early every morning. “Aamir would wake up at 4 am for the workouts. There were basically three steps to his training. The psychological aspect is the most important. Then the diet and finally the training. All he needed was to be convinced of the psychology of weight loss, the rest just followed naturally. It was ‘mind over fatter’ all the way.”
After a year together, Rahul still doesn’t think they’re friends. “Though I was his personal trainer, it was all very professional. I was invited deep into Aamir’s personal space. A confidentiality had to be maintained. I had to safeguard his privacy and mine. I had to safeguard his health and make sure he was injury-free. I’ve achieved that. His success is my success.” (Also Read: Dangal song Gilehriyaan: Faitma Sana Shaikh aka Geeta enjoys freedom for the first time)
Bhatt goes a step further and insists that many celebrity personal trainers are unqualified. “I am not a trainer. I am a coach. A lot of people are in it to make a quick buck. These trainers are sycophants, part of the stars’ entourage. Only an exceptional man like Aamir Khan can hire someone like me.”
Releasing on December 23, Dangal is one of Aamir’s most talked about projects. It tells the story of Mahavir Phogat who trained his daughters Geeta and Babita in wrestling. The girls went on to become champions and brought laurels for India on international platforms. Recently, he also attended Geeta’s wedding in Haryana. The film is directed by Nitesh Tiwari and marks the film debut of Sakshi Tanwar.