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7 years of Mary Kom: A look into Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ preparation for the role of the World Boxing Champion

Remember when the trailer showcasing an emotional Priyanka Chopra saying, “Kabhi kisiko itna bhi mat darao ki darr hi khatam ho jaaye” (Don’t ever scare anyone so much that he isn’t afraid anymore) hit our screens? It has been 7 long years since the biographical sports drama, Mary Kom, released in the cinemas. Helmed by director Omung Kumar, and written by Saiwyn Quadras, the film traces the journey of Indian boxer Mangte Chungeijang Mary Kom, popularly known as MC Mary Kom, until her victory at the 2008 World Boxing Championships at Ningbo. It has been produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Bhansali Productions.

Priyanka Chopra took up the challenging task of bringing forth a convincing portrayal of Mary Kom on the silver screen. If you have watched the film, you will agree that it was no simple feat – getting into the shoes of a boxer who has won international accolades. There’s so much to take care of – the built, the stance, the footwork!  Priyanka herself could not believe that she did all that she did for the role.

So, what really went on behind the scenes of the film? How did Priyanka Chopra get into training mode? How did she prepare to don the character of a true-blue boxer?

Let’s find the answers to these questions, shall we?

Getting ready to look like a boss

To become Mary Kom, Priyanka needed to get her physique in shape, and for that, the actress underwent extensive physical and boxing training for about four and a half months reportedly. She was trained by Samir Jaura, who had also trained Farhan Akhtar for his role in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. In a behind-the-scenes video released by Viacom 18 Studios, Jaura shares that Priyanka had to undergo different kinds of training including CrossFit, endurance training, strength training, flexibility training, and functional training among others.

Boxing like Mary Kom


Apart from training on her physique, Priyanka also had to learn the art and craft of boxing from scratch. She had to grasp Mary Kom’s boxing style, technique, and stance. Boxing trainers Hemlata Bagdwal and Jharna Sanghvi, who are part of Mary Kom’s original group trained her in the sport. In the video mentioned above, Jharna shares that impersonating Mary Kom, who has been a boxer for 15 to 20 years is not an easy feat. However, she was impressed that Priyanka picked up Mary’s style to a great extent in a few months’ time. An international sports stunts professional was also called in to train Priyanka Chopra.

Shooting in the freezing cold of Manali and Dharamshala


The film was shot in the freezing temperatures of Manali and Dharamshala, where a major part of Mary Kom’s Manipur was recreated. Despite the cold, we see an on-screen Priyanka nailing the grueling workout scenes in the film. The actress is seen running, doing push-ups on rocks in the middle of a stream, lifting heavy weights, tyres and what not!

Spending time with Mary Kom


Priyanka reportedly spent a great deal of time with MC Mary Kom before shooting the film. She tried her best to observe and understand Mary from a close range, so that she could get into the skin of the character, and not just recreate her boxing style and physique.

Channeling personal grief into action


Priyanka lost her father in 2013, and despite the immense personal grief, she started shooting for the film just a few days later. She channeled her personal loss and pain into focus and dedication at work. Talking about Priyanka’s training process for the film with an online portal, trainer Samir Jaura said, “While we were training, she lost her father who she was very attached to and we all thought that things will come to a halt but she was back to the grind within a few days which is commendable.”

The film went on to become a hit at the box office. Priyanka received both popular and critical acclaim for her role. Apart from her, the film starred Darshan Kumar and Sunil Thapa in pivotal roles.

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