Randeep's horse-powered performance
Randeep Hooda was recently in the spotlight with Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai
Randeep Hooda was recently in the spotlight with Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. During his career trough the last two years, the actor kept himself going with his love for horses and competitive horse shows.
Hooda says, "A couple of years ago, I was at a stage when I had done movies in quick succession but they were not releasing on time. As an actor, I had given my best to every performance, but I felt I was not getting my due. I wanted a breather. I turned to horses and it was great leveller; they are addictive for sure."
Bonding with his steed
The ancient relationship between man and horse fascinates Hooda. "I forget the world when I'm on horseback. Each of my horses is as good as a human being. Ranji is like a brother. If I whistle, Ranji will pick up his ears and find me. Raja, who is 20 years old, can teach me a thing or two about racing. With Simply Supreme and Johnny Walker, I'm the master. If I had to go through fire or water then Johnny Walker would just do it for me."
Riding in school
Riding has always been a 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," says Hooda. Interestingly it was actor Naseeruddin Shah who drew Hooda back into riding. "After I did a few movies in Mumbai, I had some money. Naseer bhai (Naseeruddin Shah) goes riding and he told me about an amateur riding club. Naseer bhai and Milan Luthria (filmmaker) seconded my application. I began riding once again," says Hooda, adding, "I bought a handsome horse but despite my best efforts, he died in my arms two months later. Being the Jat that I am, I bought three more horses out of vengeance." Hooda was coached in show-jumping by Colonel SS Ahalawat and Brigadier Bishnoi coached in dressage (French for training). "One tip I would give all horse riders is to read the book on horse riding by Anthony Paulman," says the actor-turned amateur rider.
Hiding behind a tree
Competing at events was the next level for Hooda. "I started at the Chandigarh Horse Show, and then competed at Bangalaru, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. These are not race horses, but show horses. At my first competition, I rode Ranji, who had developed a bad habit of running away when he had to jump. I wanted to keep a low profile at the competition but I was given an elaborate introduction as the actor from D etc. After all this build-up, when Ranji was approaching the jump, he turned 180 degrees and ran away. I was disqualified. I hid behind a tree for hours together."
Winning at the races
Hooda's ratings have improved considerably since. "Ranji has won several competitions. I have competed with professionals -- officers, civilians, Arjuna award winners. I won the Bronze at the Chandigarh horse show, and four or five medals at the Delhi horse show, which is the country's biggest."
Hooda had tall ambitions. "I was interested in taking part in the Asian games, but when Milan offered me Once Upon � I thought it was time I returned to films."
Bollywood News Service
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