Randeep Hooda is a revelation with each new project he chooses. Randeep made his acting debut with Monsoon Wedding, gaining critical acclaim for his performances in biographical dramas such as Rang Rasiya and Sarbjit, after which he became popular as the “biopic man” of the Hindi film industry. The actor’s next is another biopic based on the life of Swatantra Veer Savarkar.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Randeep opens up about how at this stage of his career he only looks for well-written scripts and reveals that he stays away from Bollywood parties and events where he has to “pretend to be so happy “glamorous person”, an image that is not true to reality.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
How do you manage to look and feel so different in every project you take on?
I give myself time. I’m always very nervous and I always think that I won’t be able to do it, this time people will catch me that I have no acting chops. I think it keeps me grounded and doesn’t allow me to dial in my performance like a lot of actors do. It is a natural thing that you do this day in and day out. I take a lot of breaks and do a lot of other things besides acting and being with film people, which enriches me as a person.
After so many years of gaining love and respect for your performances, why would you think you might not be able to play a certain role?
The first three four days of any shoot I’m like ‘Dubaaraa karenge yaar, yeh acchha nahi hua..,’ (let’s shoot this again, it didn’t come out well…). But once you get into the flow, it’s fine. I think even doubt is a very good thing. Having confidence is also a good thing, but as an actor it is also very important to have self-doubt because it constantly reminds you that you are not a god, just a human who can slip and fall and make error.
Amidst all this appreciation, how does an actor stay grounded?
I don’t think I’ve won any awards in my life and I really don’t care about them. They are opinions. But you aim to be honest with yourself and stay real. You try to be yourself most of the time; if you start faking it in real life, you start faking it on screen. That’s why I don’t go to a lot of these events where you have to pretend to be this happy glamorous person while you have a crappy life on the side. So staying true to yourself and my work and knowing that your job is not to please people keeps me grounded. I don’t think people who are happy make good actors.
Speaking of good actors, do we hardly see you socializing with fellow actors or attending parties? Do you choose to surround yourself with non-filmy people to be in touch with reality? Is that your process?
It depends on the fact that every actor, every artist, every writer, director has a different approach and attitude to how they approach their work. And real people and all that can be different too. That’s my process for living my life, I don’t know about doing it on screen. But I guess I spend a lot of time with real people and not so much with movie people because at some point we all become alienated and enter our cocoon. If you are successful, you start living in an ivory tower. You won’t be able to connect with people anymore because you live in an isolated vacuum, so to speak. So of course you need to be in touch with reality and the best way to do that is to have a conversation with your mother, she will prove you right (laughs)!
You have invested so much of yourself, physically and mentally, in your characters in films like Sarbjit, Rang Rasiya and Highway. You also had knee surgery after an injury on set, does that scare you for your future?
Love Hurts! I don’t know of any other way to do it. I haven’t learned any other way to do it. Although I have done films where there has been no preparation or no script for various reasons, but now I have decided that I will not. Many times I say no to the movies, I say no to a lot of money because I don’t want to enjoy them. There are many ways to make money (I don’t trade for it). I think that’s what happened to me, I don’t know any other way.
Are you satisfied with the work coming your way or are you still yearning for more mainstream filmmakers to rediscover you?
I don’t watch mainstream cinema. I’ve never really enjoyed it so much. Mainstream hai kya? I do not understand it. What I do is mainstream for me. I don’t care about ‘their’ stream, mera apna stream hai, mein apna chappu chala raha hoon, patthar aate hai beech mein, kya hota hai, kabhi paani bhi sukh jaataa hai, koi baat nahi (I row my boat, sometimes rocks get in the way, sometimes the water dries up, but that’s ok). I go my own way. And I’ve done a lot of mainstream films, what will they find in me again? People who want to find me again are the ones who bring me good writing. They live their lives, I live mine, I’m not interested in living other people’s lives, career-wise. As a human being, I am interested in everyone’s life (laughs).