British actor Riz Ahmed celebrated a significant year in cinema in 2020, having appeared in his Oscar-nominated role in Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal as well as Bassam Tariq’s Mogul Mowgli. Whilst film audiences enjoyed Mogul Mowgli last year, the film has only recently opened in the US, as Riz Ahmed has been discussing his intense transformation for the role.
Speaking to the entertainment publication Indiewire, Ahmed revealed that he dropped 22 pounds to play the lead character in Mogul Mowgli, named Zed. Ahmed described his experience losing so much weight for the role, before explaining why no one should do the same thing.
“I lost 10 kilos [about 22 pounds] in three weeks. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone,” Ahmed revealed in an interview. “I had a professional dietician working with me, but it was really gruelling and took me emotionally to an intense place, which probably informed the movie. That was a big part of it, being in a place of weakness and fatigue and insatiable hunger.”
Carrying the study into identity struggles and hereditary issues, Riz Ahmed makes for powerful viewing, thanks to his tremendous physical performance. Ahmed also brought up a conversation that he had with Oscar-winner of Judas and the Black Messiah, Daniel Kaluuya, about acting. “Dan Kaluuya said something I liked: ‘If you’re in your head, you’re dead.’ I think that’s true. Acting has to be in your body. Anything that brings you into your body centres you, and you can perform in that place,” Riz Ahmed recalled.
Mogul Mowgli stars Riz Ahmed, Anjana Vasan, Aiysha Hart and Nabhaan Rizwan and follows the life of a British Pakistani rapper on the cusp of superstardom who is tragically struck down by a debilitating illness.
Take a look at the trailer right here: