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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Pilates instructor Namrata Purohit on keeping Dishoom stars fit ahead of filming in Abu Dhabi

How Namrata Purohit helped Varun Dhawan and Jacqueline Fernandez stay in shape for the film Dishoom.
Namrata Purohit trains Bollywood star Varun Dhawan. Courtesy Namrata Purohit
Namrata Purohit trains Bollywood star Varun Dhawan. Courtesy Namrata Purohit

Stars Varun Dhawan, 28, and Jacqueline Fernandez, 30, have Pilates instructor Namrata Purohit to thank for their tip-top condition.

The 22-year-old, who owns the Pilates Altitude studio in Mumbai, became the youngest Stott Pilates coach in the world last year. Her new book is The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Being Fit, but she says Fernandez, who takes Pilates sessions with her three to five times a week, is anything but lazy.

“Jacqueline has more energy than most people I know,” says Purohit. “She not only works out to look good, but she loves challenges and getting fitter, stronger, faster and more flexible.”

Fernandez says exercising with Purohit finally made her stop making excuses.

“It never really feels like a workout; it is so much more fun now,” she says. “In only a few sessions of working out with Namrata, my body has been able to shrink, get toned and stay that way. I feel super fit now.”

To get the maximum benefit from her training, Fernandez has been using the Altitude Training Systems room at Purohit’s gym, which has a reduced oxygen level.

“Simulated altitude training is great for weight loss, increasing your stamina and endurance,” says Purohit. Pilates Altitude is in Santacruz West, on the same side of Mumbai as the Mehboob studio, where Dishoom has been filming over the summer, ahead of location filming in Abu Dhabi. The studio is also a social hub for Bollywood stars, including Neha Dhupia, Shibani Dandekar, Elli Avram and Bruna Abdullah. “Everyone knows everyone at the studio”, says Purohit. “Everyone is extremely friendly and warm, which makes the environment very relaxed and fun.”

Avram reportedly said her clothes had to be taken in because of the weight she lost on Purohit’s programme. But for Fernandez, dropping the pounds was not a priority. “Jacqueline didn’t need to lose a lot of weight but had to get leaner,” says Purohit. “Pilates has definitely helped. She is more toned and fit now.”

Fernandez chatted with Purohit about her upcoming five-week trip to the capital to shoot Dishoom. On her advice, Fernandez will bring her hula hoop and skipping rope, in case she has to miss out on a cardio session.

“I have given her a few things that she can do while she’s away,” says Purohit. “What’s great is that everyone in that movie is a fitness freak so they can all enjoy working out together.”

Dishoom co-star John Abraham is one of the brawniest actors in Bollywood and to star alongside him, Dhawan has had to increase his fitness regime.

“I don’t know, John’s triple my size – he is huge. He’s got a brilliant body,” Dhawan tweeted. “Dishoom is a completely different ball game, completely different zone of training. I have got a very good trainer.” Dhawan – who will also be seen performing action sequences and stunts in the Rohit Shetty film Dilwale alongside Shah Rukh Khan – started his Pilates sessions with Purohit in June, just before filming on Dishoom began. Two or three sessions a week have paid off, Purohit says.

“Varun has definitely gotten more mobile. He is more flexible and has gained stability and balance. He has also toned certain muscles of his body that were giving him a hard time.

“He has become more stable and balanced, and has gained strength and flexibility. He has also become more aware of his core and how to work through it. He can now move faster and is more mobile.”

But there’s always room for improvement. “I would like him to get even more flexible and stable,” she adds.

Dhawan has had his fair share of injuries over the years. Last year, when flaunting his dance skills while shooting the sequel to ABCD: Any Body Can Dance, the star injured his back and had to stay in bed for a week. He also hurt his back shooting an aerial stunt in Main Tera Hero (2014) and fractured his nose in his debut film Student of the Year (2012).

“Fortunately in the time he has trained with me he has had no injuries, while training or on a shoot,” says Purohit. “Working the smaller muscles of the body through Pilates helps reduce the chance of injury.”

So what’s it like working with one of the hottest men in Bollywood? “We’re constantly cracking jokes and having fun while we work out,” she says. “That’s what makes the workouts even more fun than they already are. We both love joking around.”

But behind the pranks, Purohit says Dhawan is one of the most committed people she has worked with.

“He makes my job a lot easier as he never complains during a workout and he is dedicated and hardworking.”

As for Fernandez, Purohit says she is one of the most positive people she has ever met.

“Jacqueline is always smiling and has this lovely energy. She is someone who spreads happiness.”

artslife@thenational.ae