Vijay Deverakonda trained for 2 years to get a fighter’s body for Liger, fitness coach reveals how he prepared for scene with Mike Tyson

Vijay Deverakonda plays a UFC fighter in his upcoming Puri Jagannadh directorial Liger, also starring Ananya Pandey, Ramya Krishnan and Mike Tyson. The Telugu star’s chiselled body has been in the spotlight in the film’s posters, trailer and teasers, with the makers also sharing a poster of the actor standing in a boxing ring, with just a bouquet of red roses held strategically to hide his modesty.

In this interview with indianexpress.com, Vijay’s fitness coach Kuldep Sethi shares insights into how the Telugu star worked on getting a ripped body for Liger and to look convincing in fight sequences with Mike Tyson.

Vijay, even without appearing in a single Bollywood film, has become an instant national crush and enjoys a great fan following on social media. So, how does he manage his looks and physique? Kuldep, who has also trained other south Indian stars like Chiranjeevi , Rashmika Mandanna, Ram Charan and Varun Tej, shares that the Telugu star has no hang-ups and is very sincere about his work outs.

He says, “With Vijay, it is always fun, because he is a good student. As a celebrity, he is of course a big star, after Arjun Reddy he became an even bigger star. He is very sincere when it comes to training. He trains for his characters as well as for his personal physical health.”

Talking about Liger, Kuldeep says Vijay didn’t need to bulk-up, instead he wanted a flexible and athletic body. “In December 2019, Vijay signed Liger with Puri sir, and we discussed his role and he shared specifics about his character. Puri sir too discussed Vijay’s look and told me that he is a UFC fighter, so his body had to look a certain way. If I combine the lockdown period and the ups and down through the way, then we worked together for this over two years, otherwise it would have taken around six months to achieve and maintain his physique for the for the film.”

Vijay has worked with Sethi on his Liger look according to his personality and body type.

The trainer shares, “Vijay’s personality is such that we had to work on his lower body and his forearms the most, we didn’t want his arms and chest to be too bulky like a body builder. A fighter’s body is very different from that of a bodybuilder, he is lot like an athlete. UFC fighters are leaner, not bulky, we had to carve his body according to his weight category and his personality, given all that he had to be more athletic. There was a lockdown after we started working together. So we had to keep working out through the lockdown as he would have otherwise lost the look we had achieved. We used to workout at his home.”

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“Because of the kind of regime we had, we were able to pull it off. He is a very dedicated person. We did a lot of mobility exercises because flexibility was important for him to play a fighter convincingly. He was also practising kickboxing. He was also on a high nutrition diet because he had a lot of physical and emotional pressure, and to cope with it you need to eat nutritious meals that keeps you going and helps you recover from the wear and tear much faster,” he added.

Talking about how Vijay prepared for fighting scenes with Mike Tyson, who is a former professional boxer and even at the age of 56 remains in great shape, Sethi says, “He has fight sequences with Mike Tyson, who is a legend. He was in a very good shape when we were shooting. Puri sir planned fight sequences in such a way that we had a lot of time to prepare Vijay mentally and physically. When you’re in your best shape, you are mentally confident while doing certain things. So, he was very confident towards the end of our programme. He is in the best shape of his life. While doing the film he was looking good, he was too ripped and his energy was at par with any international athlete. Vijay almost worked for it in a way that he could become one in real life too.”

Liger is scheduled to release in theatres on August 25.

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