Home / Features / Raqesh Bapat : Hyundai’s The Young Achiever – II


For the second episode of Hyundai Motor India’s The Young Achiever, we caught up with actor and artiste Raqesh Bapat who gave us a spin in the Hyundai Elantra and revealed, just like his personality, that the car is elegant, strong in performance, and has a distinct style.
Raqesh Bapat is a car lover

Story: Sarmad Kadiri
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Pop Quiz: What happens when you spend a day with an actor who’s rushing from workout sessions to shoots and zipping around in one of his fav cars: the Hyundai Elantra? You end up matching pace with the actor’s hectic schedule while getting to know him and the car better.

Raqesh Bapat needs no introduction
You’ve seen him in numerous television commercials and much-loved daily soaps. His stint in the showbiz happened by chance when he won “Grasim Mr India” when he was just 19 years old. And before he knew it, modelling assignments started to pour in and he got a break in the Bollywood blockbuster, Tum Bin. Along with Hindi and Marathi films, Bapat became the nation’s heart-throb when he bagged lead roles in TV shows like Saat Phere and Maryada. More recently, Raqesh has been busy shooting for his new web-series.

The reason you’re reading about this successful actor and model here is because Raqesh Bapat is a thorough car buff. So, we met this young achiever to find out what an average day in his life is like. And, yes, we bonded over cars and creativity which made it a truly memorable experience for us.
Actor Raqesh Bapat driving a car

Daily Routine
An actor’s daily routine is usually very busy and often very chaotic. There’s always a rush to reach places: sets, studios, outdoor locations, interviews, brand endorsements, and meetings. In between all these, they manage family and me-time, not to forget the strenuous workout regimen that makes them look like a star. Hectic as it is, Raqesh believes that there’s a silver lining here as well. ‘Most actors have no fixed schedule as such and probably that’s why we never feel jet-lagged, no matter how much we travel. We’re just so used to early mornings and late-night shoots that we get accustomed to crazy work hours,’ he says.

Talking about the start of the day, he says, ‘It depends on the show or movie I’m working on. If it’s a morning shoot, then I start very early to reach the location well on time.’ And we couldn’t agree more; he was sharp on time for our shoot as well, setting an example for many actors who infamously make crew members wait till eternity.
Hyundai Elantra Petrol

Raqesh Bapat on Hyundai Elantra
Starting on a positive note, we became eager to know what a usual day at a shoot looks like. The young actor believes that there’s no substitute for hard work and he likes to stay in shape to tackle most of the action scenes and stunts. So, early in the morning, we hopped into the Hyundai Elantra for the workout. ‘I like Hyundai cars because they are smooth to drive and they look stylish,’ he said, paying a compliment to the premium sedan. ‘The cabin is very cool and well designed. The dashboard layout and cockpit-like driver’s information console look quite impressive. Also, there’s a lot of leg-room, which is something most people look for.’

Starting Early
On the way, he explained his strenuous fitness regimen. ‘Typically, I wake up early and I sometimes prefer to work out on an empty stomach because one tends to burn three times more calories this way. I don’t do a lot of weights in the gym and prefer functional training. It’s very important to maintain your heart rate and that’s why I do a lot of cardio exercises.’

When he gets the time, he loves to go for a swim because it’s a complete body workout. ‘I also enjoy cycling a lot and often do horse riding too. I just love the outdoors and such activities give me a chance to enjoy the beautiful nature around us.’
Raqesh Bapat poses with Hyundai Elantra sedan

Time to Pose
Post the hardcore workout, Raqesh drives back home for a quick shower and a king-size breakfast. After all, that’s the most important meal of the day. It’s time to head for a shoot and we’re back in the well-appointed cabin of the Elantra, driving on the busy roads of Pune. We probe him for his feedback about the car and he says, ‘This sedan is quite comfortable and I like the music system too.’

Taking us through an average day at a shoot, Raqesh reveals, ‘In a contained environment, a shoot shift is for almost 10 hours. But some on-location shoots take way over 12 hours to complete a sequence.’ He then recalls, ‘When I was working for daily soaps in Mumbai, we used to shoot for close to 14 hours every single day, plus another couple of hours of travel time. So, we would just reach home, sleep, wake up, and head back to the studio again.’

The shoots are usually very hectic but even between the takes, Raqesh manages to squeeze time out to do sit-ups and even abs exercises. Sometimes he keeps a few weights at the sets and flexes it out whenever he can.

Hyundai Elantra

Eating Right
Whether at the sets or at home, Raqesh is very particular about what he eats. ‘I like to carry home-cooked food to the sets and I have many small meals. Due to the harsh lighting at TV and film sets, I have to ensure I consume a lot of fluids and water to keep myself properly hydrated,’ he says, adding, ‘My mantra is simple: eat healthy and don’t eat too much in one go. The biggest problem is that we try to overfill our stomachs and the surplus food transforms into body fat.’

Heading Back Home
Don’t ask us how, but even after an intense day of workout and hours of shooting, Raqesh still manages to retain enough energy for some more action. ‘I usually carry my bicycle in my car for shoots and after pack-up, I prefer to cycle back home.’ Thankfully, today we have the Elantra at our disposal and we drive back in the comfort of that car.

Driving the Hyundai Elantra
As we reach our destination, Raqesh sums up his driving experience. ‘During my short spin, I really liked the pick-up of the Elantra. It’s quite nice to drive and it stays connected to the road pretty well. I also noticed that the ground clearance is good. I had no trouble driving over speed-breakers.’ As we drove past slow-moving traffic, the actor commented, ‘The Elantra is pretty perfect for city driving, I guess. Oh, and it’s got a sunroof, which I love.’ No wonder this feature has become a major selling point for cars in India.

Time to Unwind
Evening brings out another side of the showbiz with page-three parties and glitterati-studded functions, but Raqesh prefers to steer clear of them. ‘I don’t like loud music where you have to scream into each other’s ears. I’m a very private person and I prefer to meet friends at home. It’s cosier and more intimate and I like it that way.’

So, to unwind, Raqesh paints and also does sculpting. This multi-faceted artist has won a national award for his painting when he was still at school. ‘Painting is a therapy for me. I also make my own Ganapati idol every year. I’ve always been inclined towards the arts and some of my paintings are fetching good rates in art circles. I prefer doing creative work in my free time than wasting it doing futile things. Creating something is the best feeling that you can ever get. This keeps your energies intact and your chakras aligned, I feel. It gives me a lot of solace and peace.’

Raqesh Bapat – The Philanthropist
This talented actor has a philanthropic side, too. Raqesh is planning to teach people to make eco-friendly Lord Ganapati idols through online platforms. His effort to raise funds for COVID-19 relief by auctioning his paintings on social media also deserves to be applauded.

Hyundai Elantra – In A Word
As we began to wrap things up, we asked the handsome actor to define the Hyundai Elantra in a few words. His instant response was: ‘It’s elegant, spacious, high on performance, and a stylish car. I think it’s a beauty!’ We couldn’t agree more.


About the author: Sarmad Kadiri



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