Acting is no walk in the park because it requires hours and hours at the gym. At least that’s what the current acting environment looks like right now. Lately we’ve been seeing our actors getting in shape for the big screen. Whether it’s Mohsin Abbas Haider, who posed topless for Na Maloom Afraad 2’s poster, or Bilal Ashraf, who spent months living with SSG soldiers to look and act like one for Yalghaar, our stars are putting in a lot of hard work to look the part.
The pressure on Sheheryar Munawar must have been tenfold when he got the opportunity to play Pakistan’s first superhero in Nadir Shah’s upcoming film, Project Ghazi, also starring Syra Shahroz and Humayun Saeed.
We met the starry duo, Shahroz and Munawar earlier to talk about the film and among the things that were discussed was what the stars did in order to get into shape. Shahroz immediately brought up Munawar’s famous Instagram selfie that shows off his body.
“I was eating copious amounts of chicken and protein in order to bulk up for the film but now I’m in the process of losing it all again for my next film,” said Munawar as he proceeded to show us the picture in question. “I got a lot of weird messages after that picture. Like people wrote to me saying ‘bro, you’re still not there’,” he shared and immediately cracked up at the absurdity of the statement, as did we.
“We should give credit to Jameel Chandio from K7. He really worked a lot on it. Also Nusrat (from 42 Day Challenge) is also in the film and she outlined my diet for me. She told me I needed to have 7 to 8 meals a day. Humayun from Core was helping me with my weights. I’m really grateful to Ali (the producer) for allowing me to take help from so many people; I wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own.”
One must appreciate how Munawar was quick to give credit where it’s due. After listening to the actor taking names, we wondered who helped him with his stunts and if he did them himself. “Initially, we had body doubles to do the stunts. But then I went and told everyone that I want to do my stunts. Unfortunately, since our industry is just developing, body doubles aren’t paid that well. That’s why there are many who can’t do it properly. We met a lot of people who were passionate and earnest, but there’s a way to heroically do something. You have to give gloss to your performance,” he explained. Eventually, Munawar did the stunts himself.
These stunts include scenes where Munawar is rigged up from the third floor and another where he scales a wall that was at least 20 feet tall. From what we’ve been told, Munawar managed this feat without the help of any accessories. “It was actually just like the film’s story; I didn’t even know that I could do it. We started shooting the scene and I just ran and it happened.” Also, Munawar had to do at least 10 takes of this scene to get it right. “After that I was on the floor but yeah, we managed to shoot the scene.”
While shooting for a film such as Project Ghazi, naturally there are lots of other tales that show how physically challenging this role was for Munawar.
“There were these running shots in which we ran across a dam. We ran for four, five hours non-stop. We would get two-minute breaks in the middle but we would be running for the scene. So the way to do running scenes is that you put the camera on a car and run alongside the moving car. Our D.O.P was also getting excited during this scene. He would be screaming at me, ‘Run faster!’ and I was just running and running. It was also really humid that day. Honestly, I felt like Forrest Gump with all the running.”
No pain, no gain. At least that’s what we’ve heard from fitness trainers all over the world. Munawar’s pain didn’t end there. The star proudly told us about all the injuries that took place during the shooting of the film. “I burnt my leg during a scene where I was riding a Harley Davidson. The D.O.P was again screaming at me to ride it faster,” shared Munawar with a hearty laughter.
We were then interrupted as Munawar’s green tea was delivered to him. His fruits were on the way. After all this hard work, Munawar has to quickly lose all this muscle and slim down for another film. Like we said earlier, being an actor is not an easy job but its stars like Sheheryar Munawar who make it seem so very easy.
This article was originally published in Instep on Sunday, 9th July 2017.