Randeep Hooda

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Randeep Hooda
Randeep Huda.jpg
Hooda at McDowell Signature Indian Derby, 2014
Born (1976-08-20) 20 August 1976 (age 38)
Rohtak, Haryana, India
Occupation Film actor, model
Years active 2001–present
Religion Hinduism[1]

Randeep Hooda (pronounced [rɳd̪iːp huːɖaː]; born 20 August 1976) is an Indian film actor who appears in Hindi-language films. Hooda began acting in school productions at a young age. After completing his studies in Melbourne in Australia, he returned to India and began modelling and acting in theatre.

Hooda made his Bollywood debut with Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding in 2001. However, after a good performance in the film he waited four years for a second project: Ram Gopal Varma's D (2005), which earned him critical acclaim. After D Hooda worked on a series of unsuccessful projects until he featured in Milan Luthria's Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2010), which proved to be a turning point in his career. He was subsequently noted for his performances in Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster (2011), Jannat 2, Jism 2 (2012) and the most recent in Nadiadwala's Kick.

In addition to acting in film and theatre, Hooda regularly participates professionally in equestrian sports such as polo and show jumping. He is a social activist and a blogger.[2]

Early life and background[edit]

Hooda was born Randeep Singh Hooda on 20 August 1976, in Rohtak, Haryana, to Dr. Ranbir Hooda (a surgeon) and Asha Hooda (a social worker).[3] He also has an elder sister, Dr. Anjali Hooda Sangwan, a US-Trained Obesity Medicine Specialist[4][5] and a younger brother, Sandeep Hooda, a Software Engineer working in Singapore.[6]

Hooda belongs to a Jat family,[7] As a child Hooda studied at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports (MNSS), a boarding school in Rai, Sonepat, Haryana.[5] He was involved in swimming and equestrian sports (including tent pegging and show jumping) winning medals at the national level.[8] Hooda later developed an interest in theatre and participated in school productions, directing one. In an interview with Rediff.com, he said that he loved appearing in front of people. However, his family wanted him to be a doctor and he was transferred to Delhi Public School, R. K. Puram in New Delhi.[8][9] Hooda described the transition from an environment where he was popular to one in which he was unknown as "difficult".[8] Instead of acting in school productions, he became mischievous to fit in with the other boys in his hostel. He later recalled, "If anybody had to skip school, leave school, get drinks, get their exam papers done by someone else, I was the guy who arranged all that ... I was a bit short-tempered and a bit frustrated in school so all that contributed [to the attitude]."[8]

After completing his schooling, Hooda moved to Melbourne in 1995 and received a bachelor's degree in marketing and a master's degree in business management and human resource management.[8] During that period, he worked in a Chinese restaurant, a car-wash, waited tables and drove a taxi for two years.[10] In 2000, Hooda returned to India and worked in the marketing department of an airline. He subsequently started modelling and working in amateur theatre in Delhi. While rehearsing for his first play he received a call from director Mira Nair, who wanted him to audition for a part.[8]

Film career[edit]

2001–09: Debut and struggle[edit]

Hooda made his acting debut in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding (2001), playing a non-resident Indian from Australia. Although the film was a critical and commercial success,[8] he waited four years for a second project.[11] In the meanwhile, Hooda worked in theatre and did television commercials to support himself financially.[12] He also attended (and assisted) an imagination and improvisation workshop conducted by Naseeruddin Shah at the National School of Drama in New Delhi.[8]

In 2005 Hooda was cast as the male lead in Ram Gopal Varma's gritty gangster film D, allegedly based on the life of Dawood Ibrahim.[13] His performance in the film received positive reviews; Taran Adarsh wrote, "D wouldn't be what it is without Randeep. He changes his expressions like a chameleon changes colors and that's where he scores."[14] After D, Hooda appeared in a series of critically and commercially unsuccessful films such as Darna Zaroori Hai (2006), Risk (2007), Ru Ba Ru (2008), Rang Rasiya (2014), Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye (2009), Karma Aur Holi (2009) and Love Khichdi (2009).[15][16]

Smiling, bearded man in a white shirt
Hooda at party for Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster

2010–present: Breakthrough[edit]

In 2010 Hooda appeared in Milan Luthria's Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, a period action drama depicting the rise of organised crime in Mumbai. Co-starring alongside Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi, Kangna Ranaut and Prachi Desai, Hooda played ACP Agnel Wilson.[17] His performance in the film was appreciated by critics, and proved to be a turning point in his career.[18][19] Sudish Kamath of The Hindu wrote, "In the few scenes he gets, Randeep chews the scenery around him with his Bachchan-like presence, his baritone firing away dialogue as if he were born to play this role."[20] Komal Nahta described him as a "revelation".[21] The film was a critical and commercial success, earning over INR780 million (US$12 million) in India.[22] Hooda later attributed his success to this film: "Things have really changed for me professionally because before Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai I did take a hiatus from acting, but that film brought me back in a big way. Now other directors and production houses look at me as an actor who can carry bigger parts and a longer screen presence."[23]

The following year, Hooda featured in Tigmanshu Dhulia's romantic thriller Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster with Jimmy Shergill and Mahie Gill. The film (and his portrayal of a gangster who falls in love with a married woman while working as her driver) earned rave reviews from critics.[24] In an interview with Digital Spy, Hooda said "My inspiration for this character went back to my roots in Haryana, to the time I grew up and people I observed. My uncles were drivers and I thought of those times and people around me."[23] Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India called him "absolutely mesmerising";[25] Garauv Malani wrote, "Randeep Hooda plays the best character of his career so far and gets immense scope to show his performance prowess. The passion, obsession, emotions and expressions he brings to his character is simply outstanding."[26]

Hooda's first film in 2012 was Kunal Deshmukh's crime thriller Jannat 2, a sequel to Jannat (2008). While the film received mixed reviews from critics, Hooda was praised for his performance. Taran Adarsh wrote, "the actor delivers yet another knockout performance. He dominates in several sequences, making you realize that if given an opportunity, the guy can steal the thunder from the best of actors."[27] Sonia Chopra of Sify said, "Randeep Hooda is the best thing about the film."[28] It was a commercial success, with a domestic revenue of over INR410 million (US$6.4 million).[29] Hooda's next appearance was in Pooja Bhatt's erotic thriller Jism 2 opposite Sunny Leone. The film, and Hooda's performance, received mixed reviews from critics. Lisa Tsering of The Hollywood Reporter said that Hooda "smolders to the best of his ability in the role of a violent criminal"[30] Rajeev Masand wrote, "The usually dependable Hooda, goes a little overboard with all the feeling; alternating clunkily between melancholic and hyper, Hooda constructs a wildly implausible character that inspires most of the unintended laughs in this film."[31] Jism 2 was a moderate commercial success, earning INR350 million (US$5.5 million) in India.[32]

Hooda's final film of the year was Madhur Bhandarkar's drama Heroine, starring Kareena Kapoor, in which he played cricketer Angad Paul. Before the start of principal photography, Arunoday Singh was chosen for the role but was dropped for unknown reasons.[33] Media reports began speculating about several actors (such as Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan and Prateik Babbar),[34] although Bhandarkar later confirmed that he selected Hooda after seeing his performance in Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster (2011). The film received mixed to negative reviews, but Hooda's performance was appreciated by the critics.[35] Kanika Sikka of Daily News and Analysis wrote, "Randeep, as usual does justice to his role."[36] The film was eventually declared a below-average grosser due to its poor performance at the domestic and international box offices.[37]

Aditi Rao Hydari, Randeep Hooda and Sara Loren promoting Murder 3.

In 2013, Hooda starred opposite Aditi Rao Hydari and Sara Loren in Vishesh Bhatt's Murder 3, an official remake of the 2011 Colombian thriller The Hidden Face.[38] The film and his portrayal of Vikram (a fashion and wildlife photographer) garnered mixed to negative feedback from critics.[39] A review from Mint said that Hooda "is hundreds of shades below his ability to enact a character."[40] The film earned a worldwide gross of INR250 million (US$3.9 million) in ten days, and was an average grosser.[41]

As of March 2013, Hooda featured in John Day and in the anthology film Bombay Talkies (in the segment directed by Karan Johar) alongside Rani Mukerji and Saqib Saleem.[42] In 2014 he appeared opposite Alia Bhatt in Imtiaz Ali's Highway.

He has been signed for several other projects, including Vishram Sawant’s Shooter, Fanne Khan, Main Aur Charles, Pooja Bhatt's Bad, and has been praised for his performance in recently released Sajid Nadiadwala's Kick.[43][44][45]

Other ventures[edit]

Theatre[edit]

Hooda has been associated with theatre since the beginning of his acting career, and is an active member of Naseeruddin Shah's Motley Theatre Troupe.[46][47] In an interview with Daily News and Analysis, he recalled "My first stint with theatre was in school, where I was asked to wear a lion mask and roar for several minutes. My parents came to see me with a lot of expectations and sadly, they couldn’t even recognise me on stage because of the mask."[47] During his years in the film industry, Hooda has continued to participate in a number of theatrical productions. He said, "Juggling between the two [theatre and films] does get difficult, but I don’t see myself ever give up theatre. It’s got a deeper connect with who I really am. So, if films give you the wings to fly, theatre is a reality check, it keeps you grounded. Films can give you the satisfaction of feeling like a hero, but theatre gives you the real satisfaction of being an actor."[48] Hooda has appeared in Kali Shalwar Aur Kuchchh Kahaniyan (a play based on Saadat Hasan Manto's short stories), To Teach His Own and Arms and The Man. He described the latter as a typical George Bernard Shaw play: "It is complete with elements to entertain an audience. It delves into true love, heroism and some confused relationships that are pretty baffling even in the current social structure."[47] Hooda made his theatrical debut as a writer, adapting Lee Blessing’s A Walk in the Woods in an Indian context. Naseerudin Shah appeared, and Ratna Pathak directed the play.[49][50]

Equestrian sports[edit]

Young man in a hat and a dark T-shirt, leaning on a fence
Hooda at the Raymond National and Junior National Equestrian Championship, December 2011[51]

Hooda is the only Bollywood actor who regularly participates in professional equestrian sports, including polo and show jumping.[52] He was coached by Colonel SS Ahalawat and Brigadier Bishnoi in show-jumping and dressage.[53] Hooda described riding as his "passion": "My first stint with horses happened when I was in class eight at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Haryana, but thereafter I didn't ride horses for 17 years."[53] He keeps six horses at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai.[54] In an interview with Deccan Herald, he explained "Jats take to horses like fish to water. My taking to polo in big way was only natural. Today, polo is not just restricted to the royalty and the Indian Army, many companies and firms too patronise the sport. The superb synchronisation between man and his horse, the amazing speed, the brute power with the backdrop of green arena makes polo the most exclusive and glorious sport of all requiring mental and physical strength. Even if you do not get the chance to play, there is every chance of being able to watch the sport as an observer—which is almost as good as playing. There is something extremely satisfying about watching men on their horses as they pursue the ball with their sticks with skill and adroitness."[52] In December 2008, Hooda underwent surgery after suffering a severe ankle injury in a fall from his horse during a polo match in Mumbai.[55] The following year, he won a silver medal at an open dressage event organised by the Equestrian Federation of India in Delhi.[56] Hooda has also won medals at equestrian events in Mumbai and Delhi, where he participated with riders from the Indian Army.[57][58]

Column-writing and blog[edit]

In 2009 Hooda was a guest contributor to the "In The Script" column, published by Asian Correspondent.[59] His article, entitled "Racism against Indians in Australia..." discussed the violence against Indians in Australia controversy. Hooda shared his experience of living in Australia, during which he was subjected to racial discrimination, and how he handled the situation: "My experiences were not in my mind incidents of racial discrimination but more a challenge of individual assertion of mental and physical superiority." In conclusion, he wrote "The point is to get tough inside out, play a sport apart from cricket, have heart and stand up in unity and say “we’ll not take shit”. All it needs is a few pioneers and I’m proud to say that I tried [and will continue to do so] and I hope a few others do that too."[59] In 2011, Hooda began a blog in the Hindustan Times to interact with his fans and share his experiences.[60]

Social activism[edit]

In September 2010 Hooda and Jackky Bhagnani walked the ramp in a charity show for Khushi, Kapil Dev's NGO to improve poor communities in rural and urban areas of India.[61] The following year, Hooda raised public awareness of chronic hunger in India. He presented a video to the cast and crew of Jism 2, who shared it on their social-media accounts.[62] In December 2012 Hooda participated in an anti-suicide initiative with Imtiaz Ali, Rahul Bose, Mahesh Bhupati and Nishikant Kamath, speaking to local students and parents. Hooda, who had failed Class 12, told the children not to give up. He said, "Don't accept defeat. Fight back adversities. Failure is a myth. Every experience is a just fodder for the future. Suicide doesn't solve the problem, It ends you."[63]

Image and personal life[edit]

Unsmiling, bearded young man in purple-and-white jacket
Hooda at the Pune Fashion Week, April 2012

Apart from his reputation as an intense actor, Hooda is also considered one of the most attractive celebrities in India due to his rugged good looks.[64] In 2010, he ranked 21st in The Times of India '​s annual list of the 50 most desirable men of 2009.[65] In 2011, a global online survey conducted by Internet Movie Database (IMDb) ranked him seventh on its list of the "20 sexiest men in the world".[66] Although surprised and grateful,[67] Hooda maintained that he is not swayed by such labels: "I want people to know me for my body of work, than just my body [...] Being sexy can always just be an added advantage, not the be-all and end-all for an actor."[68] During an interview with Mid Day, Hooda said that during his early years in the industry people saw him as an "explosive Jat boy" and had a calculated approach to him due to his attitude.[12][69] He added, "Now, I'm a bit more careful. I've changed the way I express myself."[12]

Having lived in a hostel from a young age, Hooda said "I've always had a good time, it's something that gives me my spirit and fuels my spirit as well. Now I want my parents to live with me, I want to enjoy their company more."[70] Speaking about his parents (who live in Faridabad, Haryana), Hooda said that he shares a great relationship with them and their openness to everything has helped him in life.[70] He considers Naseerudin Shah as his "mentor, friend and confidant": "He’s an inspiration and somebody who has helped nurtured me as an actor not necessarily my career but my craft. He’s also the one who opened my eyes to the world of acting."[69]

Hooda was in a relationship with former Miss Universe and actress Sushmita Sen from 2004 to 2006.[71][72][73] He later said that ending their relationship changed his career. "The break-up was the best thing that happened to me and I realised that I gave it too much time in my life. It freed my energy to do things for myself."[71] Hooda owns a stray dog named Candy who, he says, energises his life.[70]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2001 Monsoon Wedding Rahul Chadha
2005 D Deshu
2006 Darna Zaroori Hai Ajay Doshi
2007 Risk Suryakant Satam
2008 Ru Ba Ru Nikhil
2009 Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye Jai
2009 Karma Aur Holi Dev
2009 Love Khichdi Vir Pratap Singh
2010 Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai ACP Agnel Wilson
2011 Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Lalit / Babloo
2012 Jannat 2 ACP Pratap Raghuvanshi
2012 Cocktail Kunal Ahuja Special Appearance
2012 Jism 2 Kabir Wilson
2012 Heroine Angad Paul
2013 Murder 3 Vikram
2013 Bombay Talkies Dev
2013 John Day ACP Gautam
2014 Highway Mahabir Bhati
2014 Kick Top Police Officer Himanshu Tyagi
2014 Rang Rasiya Raja Ravi Varma
2014 Ungli Abhay
2014 Mein Aur Charles Director: Prawaal Raman Post Production

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result
2011 Lions Gold Awards Favourite Actor in a Supporting Role Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Won[74]
2012 Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Nominated[75]
International Indian Film Academy Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated[76]
2013 Stardust Awards Best Actor Jannat 2 Nominated[77]
2014 Stardust Awards Best Actor Highway Won[78]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  70. ^ a b c Bharathi (December 2011). "An Equestrian Date With Randeep Hooda". The Film Street Journal. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
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External links[edit]