Home > 

Janhvi Kapoor’s Transformation into a Cricketer for Mr & Mrs Mahi

In a grasp for authentic portrayal on the silver screen, the stakes have never been higher for actors diving into roles that demand physical excellence and genuine prowess. Janhvi Kapoor is the latest in this high-stakes endeavor as she transitions from a Bollywood actor to a skilled cricketer in the film “Mr & Mrs Mahi.” Spearheading this unique transformation is cricket coach Vikrant Yeligeti alongside Abhishek Nayar, both of whom played integral roles in ensuring Kapoor appeared every bit the cricketer on the field.

The beginning of Kapoor’s journey towards cricketing authenticity started when director Sharan Sharma enlisted the expertise of Yeligeti and Nayar. The brief to the coaches was straightforward yet challenging: it wasn’t just about teaching Kapoor how to play cricket; she needed to become a cricketer. “He said, she needed to truly become a cricketer,” recalls Yeligeti, emphasizing that Kapoor performed every cricketing action seen on screen herself. “It’s all authentic, and to make that happen, Abhishek and I, who were the consultants on the project, enabled her to think like a cricketer.”

To infuse her with the thinking and mannerisms of a cricketer, the coaches immersed Kapoor in the cricketing culture by having her train alongside top players. “Abhishek was sure that she needed to be around cricketers,” Yeligeti explains. “We took her to train with top cricketers so that she could learn how they think, move, and notice their mannerisms.” This exposure was vital as it helped Kapoor grasp the mental framework of cricket, understand different playing situations, and comprehend what a wide shot is among other cricketing nuances.

Once Kapoor became comfortable in her new environment, the next phase of her training began. Given her background in weight training and general fitness, the coaches had a good foundation to start with. However, cricket demands a unique set of physical attributes, particularly athleticism and dynamic movement, unlike static weightlifting routines. “We needed her to move like a cricketer does,” states Yeligeti. “We brought in a conditioning coach to work on her running technique. For the first few months, our focus was on drills and how she moved on the field. We aimed to make her run like a batter does after hitting the ball.”

Building strength in Kapoor’s hip flexors and enhancing her joint mobility were critical components.

Join Get ₹99!

. This specialized training aimed to make her movements fluid and elegant. Additionally, apart from running drills, Yeligeti stressed the importance of developing explosive power, necessary for batting. “Her stabilisers were absolutely on point,” he says, noting how her existing strength from weight lifting and pilates was an advantage. However, they needed to shift from slow-tempo movements typical in general weight training to the rapid, power-driven actions required in cricket.

To achieve this transition, Kapoor engaged in exercises that promoted quick and powerful movements, necessary for sports performance. This included moving weights swiftly from one point to another and executing movements that challenged her torso stability, such as wood chops in varying directions.

Reflecting on another immersive cricket biopic, Yeligeti draws comparisons to Kabir Khan’s “83,” where the cast replicated the cricketing legends of the 1983 World Cup. Unlike “83,” Kapoor’s training didn’t need to conform to a predefined template. “She didn’t have to look like anyone else. If Janhvi Kapoor became a cricketer, this is how she would look,” Yeligeti explains. The focus was purely on Kapoor’s growth as a cricketer, assessing her skills and addressing the gaps just like any other player.

Kapoor’s journey was not without its hurdles. Managing her injuries was a significant challenge, as she suffered from loose shoulders that were prone to popping out. This condition required taping before every batting session to keep her shoulders stable. “We had to take a four-month break after her first injury, and again she had to pause training after a second injury,” reveals Yeligeti. Despite these setbacks, the training resumed with increased caution and precision to avoid further injuries.

The result of this meticulous training regimen and Kapoor’s determination is likely to shine through in “Mr & Mrs Mahi.” Not only does this speak volumes about the actor’s dedication, but it also underscores the expertise and commitment of Yeligeti and Nayar in transforming Kapoor into a credible cricketer. This transformation stands as a testament to the evolving demands of cinema, where authenticity and athletic proficiency go hand in hand to create compelling storytelling on the big screen.