Striking a real deal

Striking a real deal

Bollywood buzz

Striking a real deal

Randeep Hooda isn’t seen in too many films, but every time his film hits the theatres, critics and the audience sit up and take note of his performance. Next, he will be seen in Sarabjit, a biopic made on Sarabjit Singh, who was imprisoned in Pakistan on charges of espionage. The actor has just finished a gruelling schedule of shooting Sarabjit.

He was last seen in the critically-acclaimed Main Aur Charles based on the life of the infamous criminal Charles Sobhraj. Among the meaty projects in hand is his role as a coach of Salman Khan in the much-awaited Sultan. But for now, he is all excited about his work in Sarabjit.
Here are the excerpts from an interview:

You just finished shooting for Sarabjit. How did it go?

It was one hell of an experience. But I must say that I enjoyed every moment of it. We finished shooting in 52 days and you can understand how hectic it could have been, but overall it was almost like a life-changing experience for me.

You are known to be a choosy actor, and this is another biopic after Main Aur Charles.

In fact, I won’t say that these are typical biopics, but both these films are definitely based on two real-life characters and both are equally interesting because after a point, not too much is known about the lives of both Charles Sobhraj and Sarabjit Singh. Their lives were shrouded in mystery to a great extent, and both these characters are quite appealing because people want to know more about them. As far as choosing characters is concerned, I only do a film or choose a role if I believe in it. Not all roles appeal to me.

What attracted you to this role then?

We all know about Sarabjit and what he had to go through for so many years in a prison in Pakistan. But, actually, he was just another person like you and me. He spent more than 22 years in the prison and efforts by the government to bring him back failed. And finally he was beaten to death by some of the inmates. The most important person, who fought endlessly for all these years, was his sister Daljit Kaur, who is being played by Aishwarya Rai in the film. The film is not only about Sarabjit, but also focuses on the continuous struggle of his sister. When the film’s director Omung Kumar approached me and narrated the script, I was simply blown away. I felt it should be told to the world.

You completely changed your lifestyle, and shed a few kilos to get into the character.

That was what was required because I needed to look like a prisoner. I had to shed a lot of weight. I weighed 94 kilos and had to shed 18 kilos in 28 days. The entire process was gruelling. I almost starved during that period and in the last few days, I even reduced my water intake. That was quite a difficult job but there was no other way to get into the skin of the character.

What was director Kumar’s reaction when you arrived on the set with this look?

Oh, he didn’t recognise me. Even the security guys failed to recognise me first, and didn’t allow me to enter the sets. Then Omung who was sitting in a corner, kept staring at me for awhile and then he finally realised that it was me. So, I think I was able to make him happy. But I must say that the idea behind my look was Omung’s and I followed his instructions to look my part.

You also play Salman Khan’s coach in Sultan.

That’s another interesting role and it was equally tough. You must watch that film because Salman Khan has done a terrific job in it.

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