How grueling was it to play a boxer in Mary Kom?
This is my hardest film so far. There were lot of challenges for me in the film –I play a fighter, a homemaker and a mother. Mary was the inspiration for me to do this film. We have worked for 18 hours in cold, rains, and in very tough conditions. It was a team effort and I am happy that Mary was overwhelmed and cried after watching the film.
Why did you (Priyanka Chopra) undergo such rigorous physical training for the film?
As a woman, it is difficult to develop muscles. And I had to build my muscles twice as we shot the film over two schedules spanning different periods of time. I have trained for 15 hours at times, I am thankful to my trainer. I also spent a lot of time with Mary to understand the nuances, stance and style of a boxer of her calibre.
Can you compare Mary Kom to the biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag?
I think you can’t compare Mary Kom with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. This is the first time we have made a film on a female athlete. It is disrespectful to say that it’s a trend and we have made another sports biopic film. Mary Kom is the pride of our nation.
What was it about the story that struck an emotional chord with you?
It was the real life story of Mary Kom that touched me. She comes from a small-town farmer’s family and rises up in life. Sports is a difficult thing in India but she did it. She is a real person too, she even applies nail paint.
The trailer shows how Mary Kom’s father makes a vain bid to stop her from being a boxer. But Mary fulfills her dream. Can you relate?
I can relate to her because even I had to struggle to reach where I am today. Everyone, especially the youth, should get inspired by Mary’s strength, resilience, values. I think ‘fighting like a girl’ will become cool very soon.