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Naseeruddin Shah is like an acting school: Randeep Hooda

I am enjoying spending this time with my horses,” says the actor, whose career has seen resurgence in the past couple of years. Excerpts from an interview.

Mentor magic
Working with Naseerji (Naseeruddin Shah) is a matter of honour and pride. I have worked a lot with him in theatre. He is like an acting school. Naseerji has guided me whenever I have felt disillusioned with life or work. He is my confidante. Being featured in a film poster with him is a huge thing for me. I remember not finding a place in the poster of Monsoon Wedding, my debut film that also starred Naseerji. He teases me all the time, he pokes fun at me, but I know that he’s proud of my success.

Change for the better
I have developed a lot more gratitude for people around me. I am more patient now. Working on so many films has added to my thought process as an actor. I feel glad when directors say that they have created a role keeping me in mind. As of now, I am saying yes to projects that seem fairly good. My sense of responsibility has also increased. At the same time, I have become a little cautious in choosing projects. However, I will still continue to do films with friends. Doing diverse roles is my priority as different characters add to my performances and personality as well. >I like playing grey characters more than the positive ones, as the good guys are so boring. 

Not so diplomatic
I am trying to tone down my brashness. However, my Jat genes don’t allow me to be too polite or diplomatic. I am enjoying the process though. I know that journalists are doing their job by asking me about my personal life. I try to be as honest as possible.

Tags don’t matter
I don’t think it is bad to be bohemian. I am bohemian at heart because I don’t care much for worldly possessions. I find happiness in animals and other small things. I honestly believe that the best things in life are for free. As far as being called a Casanova, the tag doesn’t irritate me. I would say that I am not one, but then I am not that good either.

 Horsing around
My horse-riding competitions take place in the months of October, December, January and April. I doubt whether I will be able to participate, as I am busy shooting. I haven’t had time since the past two years. Earlier, I would say no to work to concentrate on the competitions. I don’t do such silly things now.
I have realised that I need money to look after my horses.

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