Tête-à-tête with Darshan Kumar on his fitness saga 

Darshan Kumar is our desi jat boy who has romanced Priyanka on-screen. BFH’s consulting editor Sourendra Das met Darshan at The Park to chew the fat about his journey from Mehrauli to Mumbai, his fitness and workout regime.

From Mehrauli to Mumbai, what has been your fitness regime?

Yes, I am a pure desi jat, born and raised in a jat village in Mehrauli in South Delhi. During my growing-up years in Delhi, there was an akhada (a traditional wrestling ground) near Kishangarh village where I grew up. I had to wake up at 5 am and go for a run. That habit has stayed with me even now in Mumbai. Later, I joined a boxing camp at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Delhi and a judo camp. I wanted to take up boxing professionally. The boxing camp was close to Mandi House, and when the boxing coach was absent, I attended an acting class and got hooked. I owe my acting career to boxing, & life came full circle when I landed Mary Kom opposite Priyanka Chopra (Jonas). 

What about your gym routine; do you still practice dance at Shiamak’s?

I live in Mumbai now, and I start my morning meditation for 15-20 mins as it sharpens my focus and concentration. Later, I practise kickboxing from 7 am to 8 am. I used to train with Hari Thappa at Raheja Club in Andheri, but nowadays, I am practising with Kaustubh Bornare at Step Up in Ville Parle. In the evening, I attend Shiamak Davar’s dance between 5 pm – 7 pm, as it is an exciting form of cardio that keeps you flexible and meditative. I like to keep a lean body and exercise three to four hours daily. I attend the gym for 50-60 minutes every day. Generally, I get bored of cardio, and I keep changing my routine to make it enjoyable. I occasionally combine chest & back exercises with chest & arm exercises. Then, some days, I switch to doing triceps, thighs and abs. My thighs are the weakest part of my body, and I am working on them. I have learnt Bollywood fighting under fight master Moses. Now I am learning martial arts as you got to push and motivate yourself. Martial arts help strengthen my core and aids in concentration.

So, what do you eat daily to maintain your lean and muscular physique?

I read up about diets on the internet. I recommend having palm-size meals, i.e. palm-size carbs, palm-size proteins – chicken or fish and palm-size salad. That way, you won’t overeat. Vegetarians should include soya chunks, paneer, and protein shakes in their diet. I love ice cream, but I have overcome my craving and have it only once a week. Salad, papaya, and green tea are all excellent detoxifiers. I have three to four cups of green tea daily. If you want to make it tastier, add a bit of honey and lemon. However, during the shooting of Mary Kom, I had to go on a strict grilled chicken & oil-free fish protein diet for three-four months. Also, I had six smaller meals daily to maintain apt digestion.

Your last blockbuster film had entered the 300-crore club; how has your journey in Mumbai spanned over two decades?

I shifted to Mumbai about two decades back when I was just a teenager. I stayed in seven bungalows in Andheri west and later moved to Versova. It certainly was a roller-coaster ride. But from childhood, I always dreamt of joining Naseeruddin Shah Sir’s group, which became a reality in Mumbai. Finally, I had the chance, so I chased him and got an opportunity to work with him, and now it has been 15 years and going. When Parag Mehta and Shruti Mahajan attended one of my performances at the Prithvi Theatre in Juhu, I eventually got Mary Kom and NH 10. Ever since acting in Mary Kom opposite Priyanka Chopra, my life has changed so much. Prior to that, I performed with Salman bhai (Khan) in Tere Naam, and he appreciated me a lot & assured me that I was a good actor. Priyanka helped me a lot since I was pretty new at it. Even as a superstar, she was working doubly hard for me. I also worked with Madhavan Sir, and he is super cool with another level of energy and enthusiasm. I would say Mumbai has been very kind to me, and my journey has been filled with love and appreciation from my fans and critics; I am innately grateful. 

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