Interviews Daniel Kaleb: From Bollywood to Dubai By Lidia Janjic 10 min read Daniel Kaleb starring in 'Shakti' Daniel Kaleb is Croatian, born in Sweden, he lived in Italy, Croatia, India, and resides now in the United Arab Emirates, in Dubai, where the 41-year-old is working independently as personal trainer and yoga instructor. The self-effacing health coach with several roles in Bollywood reveals his stunning life journey. You lived between Croatia and Italy till you were 29. You graduated at the University of Rijeka, Faculty of Economics. Why did you move to India? – I’m a restless soul. As my father was a banker, he had the ambition that his only son will follow in his footsteps. I’ve never seen myself in an office chair surrounded by a bunch of paper … I was interested in fitness, yoga and body building since I was 16 and I had a vision that one day I would be more productive in sports than in economics. I saw a good link between yoga and sports, so 2004 I went for the first time to India for a yoga seminar organised by the association ‘Yoga in Daily Life’ to explore this ancient skill. My encounter with India was love at first sight. I know it sounds pathetic, but I simply decided to do everything to secure myself a place in this magnificent country. In 2005 I went to India for 6 months, incredible, the journey continued for the next 8 years. I lived in New Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Mumbai, and I got acquainted with a great part of this beautiful country, which, for me, is a continent by itself with its diversity in culture, gastronomy, languages, religions and climatic zones. You combined your love for sports and cinematography and you performed in more than 10 Bollywood blockbusters like MSG: The Messenger (2015), Krrish 3 (2013), Yaan (2013), Billa 2 (2012), Shakti (2011). Which roles did you perform in these movies? – Acting happened accidentally to me. While I had been in Hyderabad, at a birthday party 2010, I met Meher Ramesh who directed Shakti, one of the biggest South Indian film industry movies. For the role of the main villain, indomitable and strong, I attended an acting academy in Hyderabad where they prepared me for the upcoming shooting. It’s about an Indian movie where mythology and culture is reflected. We shot the movie in Egypt next to the pyramids, in Dubai and at different, exotic locations in India. In Yaan I performed an action scene in the ancient mausoleum with the movie’s leading actor, Krrish 3 was the biggest Bollywood production in collaboration with special effects experts from Hollywood, and in Georgia, in Stalin’s Palace, we filmed Billa 2 where I performed a member of the underworld. 3 years ago I acted in the Messenger of God with one of India’s religious leaders. Acting is a wonderful experience where one can meet beautiful, creative people. I perceive India as my second home. It is unbelievable how Indian actors are accepted in India, as demi-gods walking on earth, enjoying respect among the masses. During the filming of Billa 2 in Mumbai, the leading actor couldn’t leave the film location in one of the biggest slums, until the police asked him to address the people and greet them. Although some actors enjoy the status of demi-gods, they often stay with ordinary people. For example, some cook for the entire film set, some actors sit and eat in spaces at 40-plus degrees with their film crew, even though enjoying the best conditions, showing them respect and making clear that they are extremely important in their careers. Shah Rukh Khan, one of the most famous Bollywood actors, also filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Did you meet him? – Yes, we had the chance to meet at a party in Mumbai. He’s an extremely intelligent person and professional who is able to do multitasking and think of several things parallelly. When did you decide to move to Dubai? – By the end of 2013. I came to Dubai on the recommendation of my close Indian friends since they had told me that my profession as health coach is high in demand. Who are your clients? – My clients are international company owners, lawyers, CEOs, students, housewives, etc. coming from a multitude of cultural backgrounds from all across the world. How does personal training look like and how do you determine the program? – It’s a combination of physical, mental and breathing exercises. It’s an individual approach and depends on the client’s personality and purpose. Some of them want to lose weight, others want mental relaxation, and overall, they want to balance their lives … You are vegetarian. Do you create healthy diet plans? – Yes. I personally went through the whole story of how to shape up my body, I had to learn a lot about nutrition and how to combine vegetarian food. I gladly share this experience, though some clients are non-vegetarians. When you do not train others, how do you spend your time in Dubai? – Dubai is a multicultural city with lots of attractive content, high quality movie theaters, beaches, restaurants, clubs, etc. Unfortunately, due to work I do not have too much time left. I enjoy spending time with my friends, watching movies, going to desert safaris, having amazing cooking sessions or just enjoying a day at the beach. Can we see you again on big screens in the near future? – There are certain offers. Time will tell. Inshallah (Arabic for „God willing“). If you could pick only one word to describe our relation, which word would you choose? – Magnificent.