If Bipasha Basu is learning to swim and belly dance, fellow Bong, Koena Mitra is not too far behind. The actress has been keeping herself busy with various activities. But what has helped her most is learning how to do underwater action.
Koena says, "I can swim but couldn't venture into the deep waters because I couldn't look down into the depths. The moment I did, I would black out. So going anywhere deep underwater always gave me the jitters, and so I never went snorkelling or deep-sea diving." But now the actress has gotten over her fears.
"I started learning underwater action sequences and wirework with harness from a distance under the guidance of Chung, an instructor. For the underwater action, I had to go upside-down and do belly flips. I have to hold my breath, keep my eyes open and do flips underwater. It's all about being in control using the body weight."
Initially Koena was terrified as two trainers would take her from the shallow end of the pool by handcuffing her to them. "Once you get comfortable and know how to make your body light they let go of the handcuffs. But the first few seconds of being underwater and not knowing what to do is terrifying. They start you off in a small pool, then take you to a deeper one and finally to the sea. With the deep breathing exercises and action underwater, I have finally overcome my fear."
Koena says all this might help her do underwater sequences in some film. She says wryly, "I hope I get a chance. Heroines get to be part of the action but at the climax, they only get to hang from the tree and scream 'Bachao!'. Girls can do action-oriented stuff if they are fit. I am very fitness conscious," says the actress, who is called The Body by her friends for her fit and flexible body.