'I didn't like my look in Murder 3'
After struggling for almost a decade, Randeep Hooda feels he has finally arrived. The success of his last few films, Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster, Jannat 2 and Jism 2, have made him very confident.
Known for his gritty and hard-hitting performances, Hooda plays a passionate lover in his upcoming film Murder 3.
Directed by debutant director Vishesh Bhatt, Hooda will be seen playing a solo lead after a long time. He plays the role that Emraan Hashmi played in the first two instalments.
In this interview with Sonil Dedhia, Randeep Hooda talks about being the new blue-eyed boy of the Bhatts, why he doesn't mind replacing Emraan Hashmi, and his disagreements with the makers of the film.
The third instalment of the Murder franchise seems to be the cleanest of all, having received the U/A certificate from the censors.
Yeah, even I was a bit surprised because it has got a lot of elements of "those kinds" which would give it an A certificate. I wonder how the Bhatts swung that! (laughs)
You seem to have become the new favourite of the Bhatts.
It feels great that they are giving me great work in great movies. They think me worthy of being a part of their big franchises. I am grateful and I think this association should continue.
Image: Sara Loren, Randeep Hooda and Aditi Rao Hydari in Murder-3
'I give a damn about replacing anyone'
This is your solo hero film after a long while. Did you have to put in any extra efforts?
No, in fact this role was a bit bizarre for me because I usually do character driven roles. In this, I had to play to the mystery of the screenplay, rather than do what my character would be doing at that time. That for me was a very big challenge.
Does that put pressure on you... that the entire film is riding on you?
No. The entire film is riding on Vishesh Films' shoulders, not mine! (laughs) I have done my job as an actor and they have really come up with a good film with great music and some great post- production work.
I saw the film and it looks fantastic. I cannot take that pressure because I cannot do anything. So it's unfair to put that pressure on me.
Uptil now Emraan Hashmi was the face of the franchise. Did you have any apprehensions about replacing him?
I don't feel such thing. I give a damn about replacing anyone. I am doing my part in the picture and I'm not interested in what anybody else is doing or was doing.
It's a different script, different mood, different story and different cast. It's a new movie.
Image: Aditi Rao Hydari and Randeep Hooda in Murder-3
'I am the hero of Murder 3 and there's no denying that fact'
Mahesh Bhatt in his interview said that Emraan turned down Murder 3 because he found it female-centric. Did you not feel the male protagonist's part was restricted when you came on board?
No, I didn't feel that at all because my character in the film is the catalyst between the two women. Things happen because of him.
I don't want to think who has a bigger part. I had a small role in Cocktail and I claimed it. People loved my brief appearance.
Similarly, I am the hero of Murder 3 and there's no denying that fact.
Does stepping into a film after somebody rejected the role bother you?
Zanjeer was denied by a lot of actors. Emraan's denial to Murder 3 has come to my knowledge now. I wasn't aware of it. Does that affect me still? No!
Image: Randeep Hooda and Sara Loren in Murder-3
'I have refused the Bhatts in the past'
Erotica or sensuality has been the strongest element in the Bhatts' films. This one is without a big star cast and even the sensuality is missing. Do you think a major pull factor has gone?
Look, these are questions you have to ask the director or the producer. I was not responsible for the casting or what goes into the movie. I took on this job and did my part.
How they are marketing it, positioning it, it's their money, their franchise. They can do whatever pleases them. I played my part, got my money, got the due respect, and that's it.
If I claim to do anything more than that, then it's stupid. Ultimately, an actor is just a cog in the wheel in the bigger picture.
The film is edited by somebody else, somebody else puts in a background score which changes your performance completely, and somebody else picks the take that you have done. I don't go sit in the editing room.
Your look in the film is very different. In fact a lot of people don't like it. Was it your idea?
I wasn't very fond of this look at all. I was completely against it but the director (Vishesh Bhatt) insisted and so I had to go with it.
So you mean to say that you will take up anything that the Bhatts have to offer without having any say?
No, I have refused their films in the past. But in a film the director gets to have his say. He wanted this look so ultimately I go with the director's vision.
I can make suggestions, but ultimately it has to be the director's call. On the other hand, if a director listens too much to me then I won't work with that director because I'd doubt if he has any vision at all.
A director needs to be strong and he was very adamant that I keep this look. I asked him many times but he wanted it.
Image: Randeep Hooda and Aditi Rao Hydari in Murder-3
'I am still choosy but I have opened myself up to all kinds of cinema'
So you give yourself to the director completely?
Yes, I do. I have not given myself to the director in many films and I have seen the result. It was pathetic.
How do you look at your career now?
I think it's a lot to do with providence. There's something up there that's doing it because I have worked harder on films before with no result and now there are results.
The only thing I do is I say 'yes' more than I say 'no' now.
That means you're not as choosy about films as before?
I am still choosy but I have opened myself up to all kinds of cinema.
Directors of the cinema that I believed in were first going to stars and then coming to actors like me. So I thought if that is the case then why not do commercial films.
Is that the reason why you are interested in doing comedy films now?
I have done comedy films in the past but that's not the agenda for at least a year and a half now. At least till I find a good comedy film.
During the time when your films were not doing well, where did you find solace?
In theatre, which I still do, and in my horses, in friends. I used to take my horses all round the country and compete with army people. I lived an army life, it was good fun. I learnt a lot of things and I didn't get jilted.
I did theatre so it wasn't that I wasn't getting to act; it was just that I wasn't getting paid to act.
Image: Randeep Hooda in Murder-3