'I've stopped looking at roles as first and second leads'
Fortunes have reversed for Randeep Hooda after Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster. The actor, who was forced to take a hiatus from films for a couple of years, will now feature in several movies
After being appreciated for your cop act in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, you’re playing a cop again in Jannat 2. How different is it?
A cop is not a cardboard cutout which is the same everywhere. Every cop I play has a different character and personality. The cop in Jannat 2 is an alcoholic who has his own demons to fight. His journey is in conjunction with that of Emraan’s (Hashmi) character Sonu Dilli KKC (Kutti Kameeni Cheez) as they both search for their jannat.
You seem to be betting heavily on sequels — Jannat 2, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 2, Jism 2.
Sequels cash in on the success of the previous film. In fact, I haven’t seen Jannat (the first part) entirely; I have seen parts of it. But I do know that even if Jannat 2 were not called by this name, it would be a wonderful story to tell. The same is the case with the other sequels.
How was it to work with Sunny Leone in Jism 2?
It was good fun shooting with Pooja (director Bhatt) and Sunny although I did not have many scenes with her in this schedule. Sunny is finding her space and it is interesting to watch that unfold in front of your eyes. Jism 2 shows a different side of me — I am looking forward to it.
You are also doing Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster 2. Is that also a sequel that just uses the name for a story about different characters like Murder 2 and Housefull 2?
No. That movie will be a continuation of the previous story. It won’t be out of context with the first part.
But your character dies in the first film!
Tigmanshu Dhulia is a great writer-director and I am sure he has thought out how to explain my presence in the second part.
Are you worried about playing the second lead in Heroine?
I have stopped looking at roles as first leads and second leads. I play a cricketer who gets involved with an actress.
With several films in the kitty, your career seems to have finally turned around.
My debut as a lead actor, in D (2005), won me a lot of acclaim, but I did not know how to be involved in the art and be an actor. I took a break from films for two years, though I kept doing theatre. Thanks to Naseeruddin Shah with whom I worked in the play Waiting for Godot, I realised one has to bag the kind of projects and roles that are remembered. Now, my gut feeling is steering me in the right direction and I am thankful to all those who have reposed their faith in me.
Is Ketan Mehta’s much-delayed Rang Rasiya getting a release this year?
I do not know. It is one of my favourite films and Ketan is one of my favourite directors in the world.
Comment on your relationship with Neetu Chandra.
I’d rather talk about my work.