When The Great Khali Trained Danish TV Actor Akhtar Saifi
Mumbai: Danish actor Akhtar Saifi, best known for playing Nandi in ‘Baal Shiv’, received formal wrestling training from The Great Khali.
Danish talks about his journey from wrestler to actor and says, “I’m from Bihar, where many enjoy wrestling. And along the same lines, I was fascinated by wrestling. I was young when I decided to be a wrestler and I first told my dad that. He motivated me for it. He put me through years of intense training and a strict diet, which helped me a lot to get that kind of fitness and energy in my body.
“I admired WWE a lot and wanted to become an international wrestler. As the facilities were not available in my city to learn wrestling, I went to Jalandhar and started training.”
The ‘Siya Ke Ram’ actor reveals the start of his acting career.
He says: “In 2010, I went to national bodybuilding school in Jalandhar and underwent six month training which helped me get a wrestling body, then I moved to Delhi and I first started working as a gym trainer. During my stay in Jalandhar, I connected with The Great Khali’s brother. So one day he called me and said: “The selectors come from WWE, and I think you’re made for it. Can you come back to Jalandhar for this?” I decided to come back in no time.”
“Khali Sir had personally trained me for six months prior to selection at his CWE (Continental Wrestling Entertainment) academy. I remember about four to five thousand people came for selection, of which only five or six were shortlisted, and I was one of them. But due to some papers I couldn’t fly to America at that time. After that I came to Mumbai and my acting career took off. started.
Danish recounts how he got his first break and says, “For a mythology show, auditions were held; the creators were looking for someone tall, extremely strong and muscular, with a clean image. A casting friend of mine suggested “I should go to the audition’, and in the very first audition, I was selected for the role of Hanuman.”
“I never thought that I would end up in this field. It was director Nikhil Sinha’s vision that convinced me to try this role. I had to work on my acting skills a lot, and for almost three months, I studied the character to portray him in the way I wanted.”
About his penchant for mythological shows, he says, “I portrayed Hanuman twice, Bheem in a Kannada movie and now Nandi in ‘Baal Shiv’. I’m incredibly grateful for that. I got praise audiences for every mythological role I’ve ever played, and I believe their support and acceptance persuades the creators to cast me in such characters, and they continue to offer me similar roles.
“However, I would also like to give credit to my physical appearance, which probably makes them think of me for such devotional characteristics. And to be honest, I’ll do any mythological show that comes my way,” he concludes. .