You required a lot of physical strength to pull off a role like the one in Dhoom 3. How did you train for it?
The physical part was very tough for me. Before this, I had to train for Ghajini too but it was different. That required a heavy body and brute strength, ek dafa kisi ko maarta hai toh woh uttha nahi hai… kinds. I had to be like a tank. Here, I had to be a gymnast. I had to have a lean body and flexibility. I came down to 9% body fat. So I had to have an extremely strict workout schedule and had to complete a minimum of 8 hour sleep.
You have done a lot of stunts in the film. How much of VFX is involved in them?
I do not understand these technical terms. The only thing I know is that we have tried to enhance the stunts by using all the feasible means. Some of them are real and some are done with cables while some of them are done digitally.
Have you had any inhibitions doing action films of late?
No. I have never had any problem in doing action roles. The only thing is that people should not ape us in anyway. To all the youth, I would like to say please do not try doing bike stunts by getting inspired from Dhoom 3. We take expert opinion, safety measures and undertake a lot of physical training! Also the Chicago police had provided a lot of security and had blocked the roads during the shoot only for us. Lot of emphasis was given on safety. Youngsters please don't try to imitate the stunts.
About the most expensive song 'Malang' …
We were about 40 feet high in the song 'Malang'! We had hired special artists for this! Katrina had suffered a lot of bruises on her legs during the shoot but luckily nothing major. It was a very tough task. We had to train with the circus artist properly before we went up high because in the movie there was nothing underneath to protect us. So we had to take a lot of care. 'Malang' has a lot of acrobats and it has loop work and straps and silks which is normally never a part of the Indian circus acts.
You had a lot of issues performing the aerial act in 'Malang'. How did you overcome your fear?
There is no way to overcome height issues. In 'Malang', there is a lot of circus work and we had special people to train us. In the training itself I realized I get dizzy. The loop used in the song can make you feel dizzy and in such situations you tend to lose the balance. But we trained for that. I asked the guys about how they manage and they said that they too overcame these issues with practice. I was given the medicine for motion sickness to overcome the fear in the initial stages.
I always wanted to learn tap. I really love this form of dance. Aditya and the team wanted me to do this for the film. I was a little skeptical since it takes about two years to learn the basics of this dance form but I said I'll try my level best. But I wanted it to be perfect. So we got Tap Dogs of Happy Feet fame on board. They came down to India and the first ten days we trained in Mumbai but later I realized that I had to go to Sydney, cut out of my life to train for it. I had less time that is just about a month. Moreover, when they showed me the modern tap steps I was taken aback. I realized that their kind of tap is very grungy, very aggressive. But later, I really enjoyed doing it. My co-dancers were thrilled as they themselves found the steps difficult and they were shocked when I could do it. It's come out well. In fact, Azad too has started learning tap (laughs). He saw me doing the dance and started imitating it. I have his videos. I have never been known for dancing and this time I have tried something new.
Are you sporting blonde hair in the film?
No. Actually, they wanted to strip the colour off my hair. They wanted to take out the hue and bleach my hair. And during that process, the hair looks blonde and then when they added some other colour it turned pink. But all this was just a part of the process as the intended look was light shade of brown with a bit of streak. When I saw the look, I asked 'Tum log finally toh yeh look pe laye ho toh itna taam jaam kyun? ' Also, I was scared of coloring my hair because it is not good to bleach your hair too much. I constantly kept complaining about it, 'Baal jhad jayenge'.
Is the film being shot in an IMAX format?
No… we have not shot Dhoom 3 in an IMAX format. This will be the first Indian film you will be viewing in an IMAX format but we have shot it in digital. IMAX has come on board and it is just that we have converted it especially in IMAX format for the IMAX screens and it will be released worldwide. However, for single screens and other multiplexes it will be released in the digital format itself. I personally believe it is a great experience to watch the film in the IMAX format.