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Portrait of an artist

Randeep Hooda on his role as Raja Ravi Varma


Randeep Hooda has sure come a long way from his ‘D’ days.

“Yeah,” purrs the actor who has been cast as Raja Ravi Varma in Ketan Mehta’s bilingual film ‘Colours of Passion’ (‘Rang Rasiya’ in Hindi). Clad in a white dhothi, Randeep sports long hair to play his role and looks quite pleased with himself. “After Aamir Khan, Randeep Hooda is Ketan Mehta’s hero,” adds the actor who is in the city for the shot of the movie that is being filmed at Kuthiramalika and Kilimanoor, about 35 km away from the city.

The actor, who caught the attention of viewers as the non-resident Indian in Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding,’ soon became better known for his tough guy, cool roles in ‘D’ and ‘Risk.’

The coolest one

“But this is the coolest role,” he avers. “No one has ever nurtured the actor in me as much as Ketan has. I was very disappointed with myself in ‘Monsoon Wedding.’ My quest for the actor in me began after I saw that film. So I went back to theatre to hone my skills,” he adds.

His search for authenticity took him to encounter specialist Daya Nayak when Randeep had to play a character modelled on the cop in ‘Risk.’ “I hung out at police stations and cops to learn their language, their way of interacting with people and so on. But again, I felt let down when the film was released. I was heart broken,” says Randeep.

But that has not dampened his enthusiasm in any way. To play Ravi Varma, Randeep put on weight to play the older Ravi Varma and even tried to pick up the basics of painting. For the shoot in the city, he had to shed a few kilos as he plays the young artist. So, it was back to the gym to shape up.

“I also tried to read a few books on the artist but most of the books were boring as it did not give me a glimpse of the man behind the artist. He must have been a passionate person. Look at the raw emotions on his canvas, the women he painted. He was a revolutionary in art,” he says.

So Randeep says he prefers to be moulded by Ketan Mehta’s vision of the film. “He has helped me look within me to discover new aspects. I have never got that kind of grooming. Most of my films were with first-time directors. For the audition of ‘Monsoon Wedding,’ I was told to flirt with Mira. That was it. But this is different from all the other films,” he maintains.

According to Randeep, it is Ravi Varma’s relentless search to better himself that draws him closer to his character. “But I want to play all kinds of characters. ‘Darna Zaroori Hai’ was a horror film. Arjun Bali’s ‘Ru-ba-ru’ is a romantic movie while ‘Love Thadaka’ is a comedy,” says the actor.

SARASWATHY NAGARAJAN

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