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From Fauj to Stage

Major Mohommed Ali Shah talks about a different kind of fitness. He quotes Pablo Neruda and Rudyard Kipling with the same ease that he talks about defense issues and encourages youngsters to pursue their dreams. It is with the same ease that Major Mohommed Ali Shah acts in various roles on screen.

Little wonder then that ace motivational speaker Major Mohommed is an excellent example of what strong will power can do. Today, he is an award winning international TedX Speaker, entrepreneur, actor and defense analyst. As you listen to his flawless speech, you wouldn’t know that he once stammered and had a lisp.

His firm conviction is that: If you are fit in the mind first, then you are fit in the body. “As we all know, the mind matters. Think high to rise high. You can’t win a fight with just your six pack abs, you have to win it mentally first,” says Mohammed who we recently saw in ZEE 5’s Yaara as Jasjit Singh. His advice to be robust in mind is simple. “I read everything I can lay my hands on. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. With reading, your knowledge increases, your imagination grows and your creativity gets stronger,” says the nephew of Naseeruddin Shah.

Major Mohommed adds, “Only when you read can you speak on a subject. Knowledge stays with you and shapes you.” Physical fitness according to him is important too, but flaunting biceps and triceps is not what being fit is about. “Look at our para commandos. They are trained to do the most difficult tasks and are fit and agile. They don’t have giant rippling muscles, but they are equipped to carry out challenging assignments because they are mentally robust,” explains the actor who we saw in Vodka Diaries, Haider, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Agent Vinod. Listing Rhonda Byran and Dale Carnegie as his favorite authors, The Secret and The Power of Positive Thinking are his go-to books.

Similarly for an actor, a flexible physique is a must. “He should look strong when the role demands it and weak when it is required. The ability to be able to do that without going overboard with either a diet or exercise is fitness,” says Major Mohommed. The other important aspect of being fit in the mind is self-love and giving yourself time. “Be comfortable in your skin. Don’t let anybody put you down. Value yourself. I stay self-aware and not self-obsessed. When I look in the mirror I see my good points and I see my flaws. I work on my flaws but love my good points, I introspect, I meditate,” he shares. Beginning his day at 5 a.m., irrespective of the time he calls it a night is very important for the actor. “It gives me a head start on the day. Sleep is important but the benefits of waking up and doing stuff are more valuable,” he insists. Busy with a lot of online theatre, he is also working on various other projects.

Like Major Mohommed says, we are our best motivators, so let’s begin right now, why push it to tomorrow? The minute you start valuing and respecting yourself, others will too!

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