After his debut in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, the talented and handsome Randeep Hooda made everyone sit up and take notice of him, with his stellar performance in Ram Gopal Varma's gangster flick D. He then went on to do many experimental films like Risk, Ru Ba Ru, Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye, Karma Aur Holi and Love Khichdi out of which some worked while the others just went unnoticed without leaving a trace. But his power packed performances in recent films like Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster gave his sinking career a new lease.
And now Randeep is back with a bang with films like Heroine, Jannat 2, Jism 2, Cocktail, Shooter and Mayanagri. Bollywood Hungama's Divya Rajani talks to Randeep about his forthcoming films, his passion for horse riding and his marriage plans.
You had a great start with D, but then your career just went into a lull after that?
Yes, I had a great start with D and I was working with Ram Gopal Varma but the people around me at that time did not give me good advice. I got influenced by them and I did not pay much attention to priming my film career, I was more concerned with my art form and although I worked very hard on my films, those films did not gather any eyeballs for some reason or the other. So yes, I had a great start and I have got a great restart so I am happy.
After doing just one film a year or less, you have more than five films in hand right now. How does that feel?
I had taken a long hiatus of two and a half years in between when I went about riding horses. My movies were getting delayed in their release, so I took that time to figure things out, like what I really want to do, where my strength lies and how to go about it? Because coming from outside the industry I did not know all things you have to do to get the snowball effect to get bigger and better movies. After that hiatus, I think Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai onwards it has been a great run for me and hopefully it will continue.
You received rave reviews for your performance in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (OUATIM) and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster (SBAG).
I am very thankful that my performance got appreciated in those films, although I was a bit flummoxed that I worked as hard and gave as much of my heart to all my performances but these got noticed more than the others. But I am glad and very thankful that I have got this second chance and I am able to get good work and get noticed for my work rather than anything else.
On what basis do you choose a film?
Earlier I used to choose the film only for the role but now I choose on the basis of the role, the script, the director and to a certain degree the production house because working with a big production house like Balaji gives you a much bigger reach. I am a bit more careful about the producers because sometimes great scripts don't get that kind of reach due to a smaller producer.
Are you a part of Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster sequel?
I have heard in the media that I am a part of Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster sequel but I have not yet read the script nor have any dates been confirmed, so there is not much I know about that.
Talking about your next film Heroine, it is said that Kareena recommended you for the film? Is that true?
(Laughs)â€¦Well I don't know. You will have to ask Kareena about that, all I can say is that she is a wonderful person and I am glad to be a part of Heroine.
What is your role in Heroine?
I play a cricketer, who in the course of the movie becomes the captain of the Indian cricket team and then he meets this actress and falls in love with her and then their journey as a couple starts. It's a very interesting and challenging role with a lot of ups and downs.
After OUATIM you are working with Emraan Hashmi once again in Jannat 2.
Emraan is a very easy going guy and I hope we keep working together. I have a feeling that mine and Emraan's chemistry in Jannat 2 would be absolutely superb. The film has turned out very well. Bhatt saab and every body in the team is very gung ho about it.
After OUATIM, you once again play a cop in Jannat 2.
Yes, I play a cop in Jannat 2, who is a bit emotionally distraught and is on a one minded focus of eradicating the evil ones and that's where he encounters Emraan's character and the story is about the two of them.
You have also been signed on for Pooja Bhatt's Jism 2.
Jism is a big brand like Jannat, and it feels really good to be in the sequel of two really big franchises. When I heard the script of Jism 2, I was just bowled over by it. It is a thriller with a lot of dramatic value. I am very thrilled about the movie and shooting with Pooja Bhatt.
When will you start shooting for it?
What is your role in Jism 2?
I play the character of Kabir in the film, who is quite a dark character and for whom there are other things in life that take precedence over love and ultimately he realizes that there is nothing more important in life than love. He is a guy who goes through his own journey.
You replaced Arunoday Singh in Heroine and now you will be working with him in Jism 2. Is there any bad blood between the two of you because of that?
No, not at all. I have known Arunoday before as we have met a few times but I am not too familiar with his work. There is no bad blood between us as I was not responsible for taking over that role so I don't think he holds that against me.
Are you looking forward to working with Sunny Leone?
Ya, I guess like you would look forward to work with any co-star.
What is your role in Homi Adajania's Cocktail?
I can't tell you much about Cocktail. Homi or someone from the production house can tell you more about it. But I had a really good time shooting for that movie and I have a very good feeling about that film.
You are also doing D director Vishram Sawant's film Shooter.
I think Shooter might be a tentative title right now. It is wonderful to be back to working with Vishram Sawant. As you said Vishram gave me a great start with D and then we did a movie called Risk together for which I got a lot of critical acclaim. Although Risk did not do to well at the box office, it is the most run movie on TV. I am shooting for Shooter right now and it is a very volatile script about a low life from Mumbai. It is about this man who does something really patriotic which people with all the intellect and all the knowledge were not able to do. The shoot is very taxing but hopefully we will be able to produce returns much better than D or Risk.
Tell us something about Satish Kaushik's next Mayanagri with Mahie Gill, with whom you shared sizzling chemistry in SBAG?
I am doing the film, but the dates are still an issue and we are still sorting that out.
What about your film Rang Rasiya, when is it releasing?
(Laughs), I don't know, I am also wondering the same thing. Although the movie is delayed it won't age because it is already a hundred years old. But I am looking forward to showing that film to the larger public and I am hoping that the film releases soon because it is a story that needs to be told. It is about Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma, who gave shape to the Hindu Gods in India. He was the first marketing guy in India as he was the first painter to have an exhibition for the public because earlier it was all limited to the Royal courts. This man did a lot for our country and he has a great influence on Indian cinema as well. In fact Dadasaheb Phalke, who is known as the father of Indian cinema, also worked for him.
You have so many films in hand right now, so where does that leave any time for your favourite passion Horse ridding?
Well I have to steal time for that. The point is that my first love is acting, it is my bread and butter as well as my passion. I have started giving preference to acting over horses, which is hard sometimes but that is the way life is as I cannot make a living riding horses. That is the big truth of it.
Any plans of tying the knot this year?
No, that is not the plan yet but it will happen when it is destined.