Randeep Hooda is a revelation with every new project he picks. Randeep made his acting debut with Monsoon Wedding, and gained critical acclaim for his performances in biographical dramas like Rang Rasiya and Sarbjit, after which he became popular as the “biopic man” of the Hindi film industry. The actor’s next is yet another biopic based on the life of Swatantra Veer Savarkar.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Randeep opens up about how, in this phase of his career, he’s only looking for well written scripts, and reveals that he stays away from Bollywood parties and events where he has to “pretend to be this happy glamorous person”, an image that is not true to life.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
How do you manage to look and feel so different in every project you take up?
I give myself time. I’m always very nervous and I always think that I will not be able to do it, this time people will catch me that I don’t have any acting chops. I think that just keeps me in good stead and doesn’t allow me to phone in my performance like many actors do. It is a natural thing as you are doing this day in and day out. I take a lot of breaks and do a lot of other things besides acting and being around movie people, which enriches me as a person.
After so many years of getting love and respect for your performances, why would you think that you might not be able to pull off a certain role?
The first three four days of any shooting, I’m just like ‘dubaaraa karenge yaar, yeh acchha nahi hua..,’ (let’s shoot this again, this has not come out well…). However, once you get in the flow then it is fine. I think self-doubt is a very good thing. Having confidence is also a good thing, but as an actor, having self doubt is also very important because it constantly reminds you that you’re not some god, just a human being who can slip and fall and make mistakes.
Amid all this appreciation, how does an actor stay grounded?
I don’t think I have won any awards in my life and I don’t give a damn about them really. They are opinions. But, you like to be honest with yourself and stay real. You’re trying 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 do not go to a lot of these events where you have to pretend to be this happy glamorous person, while you have a sh*tty 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 pleasers make good actors.
Talking of good actors, we hardly see you socializing with fellow actors or attend parties? Do you choose to surround yourself with non filmy people to be in touch with reality? Is that your process?
That depends, every actor, every artist, every writer, director has a different approach and opinion towards how they approach their work. And, real people and all that can also differ. That’s my process to live my life, I don’t know about doing it on screen. But I guess I do spend a lot of time with real people and not so much with film people because at some stage we all get alienated and enter our cocoon. If you’re successful then you start living in an ivory tower. You will not be able to connect to people anymore, because you’re living in an isolated vacuum, so as to speak. So, obviously you have to be in touch with reality and the best way to do so is to have a conversation with your mother, she’ll put you right (laughs)!
You’ve been investing so much of yourself, physically and mentally, into your characters in films such as Sarbjit, Rang Rasiya and Highway. You also had a knee surgery following an injury on set, does it scare you for your future?
Love hurts! I don’t know any other way of doing it. I have not learned any other way of doing it. Though I have done movies where there has been no prep or no script for various reasons, but I’ve decided now I won’t. A lot of times I say no to those films, I say no to a lot of money because I will not enjoy it. There are a lot of ways to make money (I don’t act for it). I think that’s what has happened with me, I don’t know any other way.
Are you happy with the work coming your way, or do you still crave more mainstream filmmakers to rediscover you?
I don’t watch mainstream cinema. I never really enjoyed it so much. Mainstream hai kya? I don’t understand it. What I’m doing 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’m rowing my boat, some times stones come in my way, some time water dries up, but that’s ok). I’m walking my own path. And I’ve done a lot of mainstream films, what will they rediscover in me? People who want to rediscover me are those who bring good writing to me. They’re living their lives, I’m living mine, I’m not interested in living other people’s lives, career wise. As a human being, I’m interested in everybody’s lives (laughs).