I would die again and again to do Main Aur Charles
From a dashing NRI to an angry cop to a charming killer to a sexy swindler, Randeep Hooda is an actor of many shades. In a chat, the handsome hunk reveals the prep he went through to play the noted con man in Main Aur Charles.
What was the most challenging part while preparing for your role in Main Aur Charles?
All the people that Prawaal (Raman) met, had conflicting stories, each person seemed to be talking of a different man. So, who is the real guy? That was the first challenge faced by Prawaal and me. Of course, I had to work on accent, body language, something that I have done in the past for other films. It is a part and parcel of my work and you can’t skip it. But the biggest challenge was that the film was not shot in one location or schedule. We went to Thailand, Udaipur, Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai) and Goa over a period of time. There were breaks in the schedule, and so it was hard to maintain consistency in the character.
Thankfully, Prawaal is the best director I have worked with and I have worked with many big guns. He made the whole process easy. As he is a Writer-Director he has an understanding of the story and sense of collaboration; in all the ruckus that happens on a movie set, he could see through it and follow his vision without difficulty.
Didn’t you have any apprehensions playing this character because there were so many contrasting and controversial stories surrounding Charles Sobhraj?
That made it more challenging. But then we resorted to articles because they were written immediately. Books were not of any help because they are written over a long period of time and with time the writer starts to dream about and fictionalize it. So, we didn’t rely on them. For his personal mannerisms and diction, we saw some documentary footage, which was not very helpful. I did not try to mimic him and just tried to catch his essence.
You had said in an interview that Charles Sobhraj is innocent. Comment.
There is a line, “innocent till proven guilty”. He was never convicted of those murders. In India he was caught because he drugged 50 French engineering students and they (the criminal judiciary) tried to nail four murders on him. But it was not proven. So he was let off. But he didn’t have any passport, he is not an Indian or French, so was as a state prisoner for the longest time. He was basically having fun. That’s what I like about him. He manipulates people and uses them to his advantage, obviously gives a good time to women as well, so no one is complaining.
You have played diverse characters in almost every film, be it Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster, Murder 3, Highway, Beeba Boys, Main Aur Charles, et al.
It is a bit hard, but that’s why I enjoy my job as it is a challenge. If I was to go on a set where I didn’t have to prepare, I would not know what to do. I think actors are unjustifiably called artists and the ones who can earn it, which I try very hard, are the ones who work very hard, like a sculptor, a singer, dancer… Can you imagine the hard work they put into every single piece of work? Similarly I have to justify to get a van with artist written on it. I think I have to earn it.
Actor Adil Hussain said you are an underrated actor. Do you agree that you’ve not received your due credit in the industry?
Adil said that? That is really heartening because he is one of the most fantastic actors and a true artist. I don’t know, it would be pompous for me to say that, but I always say it is better to be underrated than overrated, which would kill me and I will have to dig a hole.
Since you get genuinely involved in your characters, is there something you took back from your role in Main Aur Charles.
Charles’ ability to gauge another person’s thought and become like that is something I wish I had. There is no conflict around him. He can lie for his convenience but I can’t do that so I always get into trouble and I am fighting with people. I don’t have a problem with the women part, though. Also, before one can take something from the characters, one is already doing another film.
What is more difficult – playing a real or fictional character?
Both have their own limitations and hurdles. In real life characters you are limited by what there is, it gives a reference but then you have to match-up to it. In fictional characters there is no reference, you have to find one, and it is not easy to make that choice. There are 100 choices and there is a danger that it might not turn out right. In both of them you have to be true to the script.
There have been talks of making Kick 2. Are you or will you be part of the sequel?
I have not been asked. If they ask me I will not refuse. If they don’t ask me I am not going to sulk in a corner. Salman Khan and Sajid Nadiadwala are wonderful people and probably the only two people, apart from Naseer sa’ab (Naseeruddin Shah) I hang out with. These are the only friendships I have in the industry.
Do you tend to over expect from yourself as an actor?
I criticize myself all the time. I think some times people get annoyed with it. It’s just that every day one gets new thoughts and learns more about the same thing that one is doing. So one tries doing things differently and keeps at it, till the final copy is out (the film releases). Then, of course, I can’t do anything. I get out of a film so quickly, it is not funny. You can praise or criticize the film, I can’t hear it ‘coz I am involved in what I am doing next.
Can you tell us a little about Omung Kumar’s biopic on Sarabjit?
I will start shooting next month for Sarabjit. I have not gotten into it yet. Once I start then you will not see me for the next four months.
The tagline of Main Aur Charles is ‘worth dying for’….Would you say it holds true for you as an actor?
Absolutely! It is probably the only film worth it. And I would die again and again to do it.