With back-to-back biopics in Inspector Avinash and Swatantra Veer Savarkar, Randeep on how he dives deep into his characters
It’s a feat most actors strive for. But Randeep Hooda has experienced the joy of fronting a biopic many times over—be it Rang Rasiya (2014), Sarbjit (2016), Main Aur Charles (2015), or his latest outing, Inspector Avinash. He laughs when we ask him if biopics are his forte. “Every role evokes within me a sense of responsibility to the material. I want to immerse myself in the roles. This often costs me time, money, and my own emotional struggles. It’s frustrating when a film is not moving, and I am completely into it. This has happened to me a few times. My father often tells me not to get obsessed with my roles. But I am usually too deep into it already,” he shares.
Hooda in Swatantra Veer Savarkar; (right) Inspector Avinash
JioCinema’s maiden web series chronicles police officer Avinash Mishra’s efforts in the ’90s to curb the mafia dominance and illegal arms trade in Uttar Pradesh. At a time when police procedurals are made by the dozen, Hooda wanted to make his character stand out. Meeting Mishra and recording their interactions was part of the actor’s prep. “I spent a lot of time with him, and recorded him for hours. When you are an actor, the problem is that friends and family are constantly asking, ‘Who are you today, Randeep?’ My accents are constantly shifting, my language is changing. Sometimes in biopics, when I am offered something heavy, I think, ‘Oh no, I have to go through so much again.’ But it’s so enriching that I can’t have enough of it. I go for parts that I feel I can’t crack. I choose to work less so I can shed a character and step into another.”
Hooda is almost done with his next biopic, Swatantra Veer Savarkar, which also marks his foray into direction. “I was shocked to know of his contribution to the freedom struggle, which was brushed under the carpet for reasons that I discovered during the making.” When fronting biopics, does he always identify with his characters’ value systems? “Characters are a product of their circumstances. I always understand the parameters of how they become who they do. I find similarities with the characters I play. We are all human beings with common emotions.”