EXCLUSIVE: Shiv Panditt on Khuda Haafiz, prepping to play an Arab commando, Vidyut Jammwal and OTT release

Pinkvilla recently got into a candid chat with Shiv Panditt where he opened up Khuda Haafiz, his preparations for the role, the film releasing on OTT platform, and his bond with the Vidyut Jammwal, Shivaleeka Oberoi, and the team.
EXCLUSIVE: Shiv Panditt on Khuda Haafiz, prepping to play an Arab commando, Vidyut Jammwal and OTT release
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Shiv Panditt is one of the most talented and versatile actors we have in the entertainment industry. Whether it is TV, films, or web shows, the actor has proved his mettle on all platforms. Fondly remembered as Inspector Hanuman Prasad Pandey Sab TV sitcom F.I.R, Shiv is all set to enthrall fans as an Arab commando in his upcoming film Khuda Haafiz. Starring Vidyut Jammwal and Shivaleeka Oberoi in the lead roles, the actor play a never before seen character of 'Faiz Abu Malik', a macho and tough Arab commando. 

Pinkvilla recently got into a candid chat with Shiv Panditt where he opened up about his character in Khuda Haafiz, the tough physical and combat training he had undergone for playing a commando onscreen, his views on the film releasing on the OTT platform, and his bond with the team. Revealing why he decided to take up Faiz Abu Malik's character, Shiv said, 'I have never done such a role in my career. It was new and intriguing. Usually, we see foreign actors playing characters belonging to other nationalities in Bollywood movies. So, when I got a chance to do something different, without a second thought I was up for it.' 

ALSO READ: Vidyut Jammwal SLAMS Disney Plus Hotstar for snubbing his film amid Alia, Akshay & others' film announcements

Ask him how did he pick the Arabic accent, Shiv shared, 'Frankly, I have taken an Arab diction course to get the dialect. I was busy shooting for a web series while learning the language, and it was difficult to switch between two different characters simultaneously. However, luckily smartphones proved to be of great help. I recorded my videos while practicing the language, and analyzed them later. Their speaking style is very different, it is not typical as they stress on different alphabets. I had to make sure that my face is not looking odd onscreen while speaking because if that happens the audience will not be convinced with my portrayal.  I had to sink into the character completely. Speaking Arabic was tricky, but I've put in all efforts to make it convincing.' 

The handsome hunk will also be seen pulling off a series of high-octane stunts in the action thriller. When asked how he did prepare and transform himself physically, Shiv opened up about his challenges, and shared, 'I was bulkier before. For this particular character, it required me to be very shredded, lean, and athletic. When I was finalised, I had very limited time to get into shape and used to train for 2-3 things different things in a day.  I had my own trainer, who helped me with everything, including functional training.' 

Apart from rigorous physical training, Shiv upped his skills under the guidance of well-known action director Andy Long Nguyen. Andy is known to have been the stuntman of Hollywood icon, Jackie Chan. 'Later, I trained with Andy, who was the action director on the sets. Andy has his own 3 to 4 weeks of action rehearsal. He taught me Keysi fighting technique, Krav Maga, involving close-quarter combat and grappling moves. We also did a lot of freehand exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, squats, and more, along with 40 minutes of a bodyweight workout. I was training throughout the day, and by the time I use to go for a shower, I would be exhausted,' the 33-year-old actor explained. 

Like many other films, Khuda Haafiz will release on the digital platform ditching the regular theatrical way, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. When asked what are his thoughts on the film taking a digital route, Shiv shared, 'To be honest, I would have loved the film to be released in the theatres. The screen size, larger than life feeling that you get in the theatres is overwhelming. Having said that, I've done a big film on OTT which got worldwide acclaim, so I know the power of OTT. If the content is good, you're bound to get a good response. Luckily for us, we have a Disney Hotstar, it is a very big platform with a wider reach and great viewership. Amazingly, we're able to provide entertainment to people in their homes during a pandemic, keeping them safe and also helping them save some money.' 

Khuda Haafiz is all set to release on Disney Hostar Plus on August 14, 2020. Inspired from true events, the film also has Annu Kapoor, Aahana Kumra in pivotal roles. 

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