In Kick they played an endearing cop-thief pair that was having too much fun while chasing the ‘Devil’. In Sultan, one coached the other who was struggling to compete as a wrestler in his middle age. Salman Khan and Randeep Hooda are back in the chase with Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, only this time, the former is out to nab the latter. Randeep says his collaboration with Salman in Radhe is an extension of what they have already done together, and the camaraderie they share off screen. The actor spoke to us about playing an out-and-out baddie this time and releasing the film in the midst of a pandemic.
Are you glad about Radhe providing some entertainment to people at a grim time like this?
Last year, when the lockdown was not so bad and we were doing well as a nation to fight this pandemic, I had another film called Extraction. That gave me the opportunity to be doing interviews and keeping busy. Similar things happening this year, but now, the situation’s much worse. One does feel guilty about doing promotional work while the state of affairs is so grim. But then, one has to sit back and think that, okay, this is my job, I have to do my job also, and 500 people who are involved in the making of this film, their work should be seen. If we are able to provide distraction for two hours from this grim situation, then, again, we are happy with that, as long as you stay at home.
How does it feel to be chased by Salman Khan on screen for a change?
There’s no doubt it is a Salman Khan film, so the whole thing is pointing towards him and his character. He is a friend of mine and we have a good time and a good laugh while working. So it’s an extension of that and what we’ve already done together. This time I’m playing a real baddie with no explanations, no remorse, ruthless, who is completely black within. So that kind of a big commercial cinema role was enjoyable, I had fun doing it. I got to do some action again, after Extraction. What I’m beginning to realize is that I enjoy action very much and would like to do more of it.
Is your long-haired look in Radhe also an extension of your look in Extraction?
I was against it, because I generally don’t repeat my looks. I had shorter hair in Extraction. But everybody, from director Prabhudheva to Salman Khan, sat down and convinced me that it is going to have a great impact.
Is it easier to do such commercial films compared to the intense roles you often take up?
This does not involve more final strokes of character building. It has more larger strokes and slow motion shots and stuff like that. So it really was a breeze as compared to other films. You didn’t really have to prepare and go. You just have to turn up in a good mood, get your gear on and shoot.
…As opposed to starving yourself to get into the skin of a character…
Among other things, yes (laughs).
It’s amazing the amount of transformation you go through for a character.
I spent three years growing my hair and beard and, it (film on battle of Saragarhi) got shelved and I was heartbroken. But then I got Extraction, which took me out of the hole I had dug myself into, and things kept moving. Then Imtiaz Ali came (Love Aaj Kal), Radhe came, so the whole journey started again. I was out of circulation, and refused so much work I thought no one will give me films again, because I refused to cut my hair. That kind of dedication and work our film industry does not really support, because we churn out films faster.
I did films like Sarabjit and Do Lafzon Ki Kahaani, where I became this muscle bound by MMA fighter, Main Aur Charles, even Rang Rasiya – our way of working is not so conducive. A lot of the things that I did earlier in my career, which were not in vogue then, now similar things are big hits on OTT platforms. So the world is changing, our cinema is changing and finally, there might be a point when there is sync between me and the mechanics of the industry.