Sanjeev Kumar Bijli does not remember being much into sports as a child. In fact, the joint managing director of PVR admits that he was particularly lazy back in school. But something changed when he went to England for his higher education.
He took up squash and tennis at his university. One could say that is where his decades-long journey with fitness began. At the crux of it was something very basic: “The desire to look good. I think it came from that first,” he says with a chuckle.
Once he got started, Bijli realised that exercising every day made him feel good. “It starts with the very basic notion that a healthy body is a lot more productive and a healthy body leads to a healthy mind as exercise releases endorphins or happy hormones,” he explains.
Today, you will spot Bijli at the gym six days a week, exercising with a trainer for an hour early in the morning. And no, this joint MD does not take weekends off. “I try to not miss Saturday and Sunday. It is a crime to miss it on the weekends because that is when you have most of the time and you are free,” he says.
For him, exercising in the morning sets the tone of the day but it does not end there. Bijli says that the idea of exercising one hour a day and then sitting in the office the whole day and leading a sedentary lifestyle is incorrect.
“Since our cinemas are all in the malls, I try to go in the evenings to do surprise audits there. I make it a point to be dropped off quite a distance away so that I can walk to the mall and then reach the cinema,” he says.
Bijli also finds walking very therapeutic. While fondly recollecting his time at the Cannes Film Festival that he goes to every May, he says that he ends up clocking 22,000-odd steps a day going from one screening or meeting to another.
Circling back to his first incentive to get into fitness, Bijli says that aesthetics, too, are important to him. “I like to be a certain shape and size so I can enjoy wearing the clothes I like. As a result of which it is also important to be physically fit,” he says.
However, there is more to it than just that. “It definitely leads to better concentration and focus. It also attunes you to targets because you have targets at the gym for yourself, a milestone to reach—a waist size, weight or bicep size. Overall, it makes you very target oriented, not just towards your own fitness and body but also towards business. You actually end up looking for targets there as well,” he concludes.