Interview : Randeep Hooda


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Though ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI is touted as Ajay Devgan & Emraan Hashmi’s film and the duo have been receiving rave reviews for their stellar performances, yet there’s one more actor who deserves a mention & is equally responsible for the success of the film. Well we are talking about actor Randeep Hooda, who in a ‘special appearance’ plays a cop in the gritty story of Mumbai’s underworld. Recently we caught up with the unassuming actor. Here are the excerpts of the conversation.
You had a substantial role in the movie ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI yet you were credited in special appearance. Does that pinch you?
No not at all. I think it’s the industry people and media that really pay attention to it the audiences don’t really read into that too much. The role is very special for me and my friend Milan Luthria, so great if I get a special appearance why not?

Well that was decided right from the beginning so it was not something which I would be surprised by. They decided that they gonna keep me as a surprise package and therefore not took me in the promotions and they gonna give me this credit. I was fine with it. On the contrary, I am grateful to Milan to bring me out of my hiatus from films and giving me confidence and the platform to showcase my self. All he said was Randeep just trust me and these are the things people are going to say about you after the movie is out.

“It’s my second inning with ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI…”

After Ajay & Emraan critics have praised your performance in the film

I am very happy with it. I haven’t received such accolades since D and it’s a real booster for my career. I have been getting calls from all corners of the world from audiences as well as the people from the industry. It’s a very great feeling.

We hear you and Ajay Devgan bonded big time while shooting for the film
Yeah. Ajay is a very cool customer. He’s always in control, he is funny guy. He’s got a very nice energy about him, he treats everyone well.


Anything you would like to share that you grasped from him
I discussed with him about how things are going in my career. He also advised me and basically it was to chill & leave it in destiny’s hands. He is quite exemplary. I want to follow his example. The way he is in dealing with people on sets and all around, with media, the way he performs. I think he is a great actor. I even told him that I admire his persona and the way he is, but he dismissed it casually. It’s an inspirational thing to work with such a fine actor. I found his performance in ONCE UPON A TIME…extraordinary, the way he spoke with his eyes, especially in those romantic moments, which people might have not seen so much. Truly he is just superb.

ONCE UPON A TIME…has given you a big exposure
Definitely. I think it’s gonna open lot of doors for me which were otherwise shut. And I am hoping that it happens sooner. But as Ajay said chill, things will happen the way they are. So I am quite chilled about it. I am getting a great exposure.

view ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI movie poster

movie poster

How you bagged OUATIM?
Well Milan and me are in the same club – Amateur Rider Club. I have known Milan for quite sometime. Infact Milan and Naseeruddin were the two people who kind of put my name in the club. It was Naseer, who introduced me to Milan. As we share a common passion of Horse Riding, we hit it off instantly. Later when Milan was making OUATIM, he approached me. However, I was apprehensive to take up the role; but Milan was absolutely confident about it & told me that I am the perfect choice for this role. I am grateful to him that he had immense faith in me.

You have been mostly seen in offbeat films. OUATIM is probably your first commercial film
I feel all films are commercial. D was quite a commercial film. It gave me a lot of leeway into the industry and am thankful to Ramu for that. It didn’t fair badly. D was quite a successful film and it was more so successful for me as an actor. It got me lot of accolades & work….Commercial in the sense songs, huge release, big studio backing, etc. I think in that respect OUATIM is my biggest film and my biggest recognition also. My other films did not get this platform at all in terms of being put out to people or promotions, etc in that sense you could say they were smaller films. I did not consciously pick offbeat films.

You have almost completed a decade in the industry now & yet you have to create a mark for yourself. Does that feeling bother or pressurize you?

“Ajay Devgan is exemplary.”

Ya in 10 years I have done only 11 movies. I started off with MONSOON WEDDING. And then I didn’t do films for four years and went & did theatre because I thought I sucked as an actor. I joined Naseeruddin & Ratna Pathak Shah’s troupe Motley. I am Motley product. Whatever I know today is because of these wonderful people. Then Ramu spotted from there & D happened. I have had long breaks. So these breaks is nothing new to me.

But the pace with which industry is moving…
(Interrupts) Well it takes time to build something good. Rome wasn’t built in a day! I am really trying to build a career which will last another 50 years if I am alive. I am taking it slow and steady. I am not in rush, I feel no competition with other actors. I feel no hurry to get anywhere because you only get better with age as an actor, if you keep working at it.


So you are happy with your pace…
I am happy with my pace. But yes after ONCE UPON A TIME…. now I would like to get a bit faster, which I think deservedly should happen and I am hoping for it. I am very thankful to Ramu also. He gave me that platform to begin with otherwise I would have been nowhere.

So we can say with ONCE UPON A TIME..its your second inning in the industry
You can say its a second inning in a way beacuse I didnt do any films for last 2 years. For an actor its sometimes hard to do one of these things. But I was really lost and confused about what I was doing and why I really wanted to become a film actor – was it the fame or was it the money or was it the newspapers, etc where I am getting a lot of satisfaction doing Theatre as well. I used to have long chats with myself over it. So I took 2 years off and went riding horses, show jumping all around the country. I won couple of national medals. And then I was preparing for Asian games trial when Milan met me & I again kind of felt that childlike excitment about working in movies and so I am here again.

Do you regret the kind of films you did in the past?
I dont really regret the films as such. But I do kind of feel that they did not get the platform which they should have. But all in good time. Everything happens for a reason. I learnt a lot from those films. In work everything counts and whatever I did in OUATIM & every film that I have done in the past has contributed to it for sure.



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