Birthday Special: Five incredible performances by Randeep Hooda that left a mark on Indian cinema

When Randeep Hooda chooses a script, you can see him getting so absorbed in the character that what is reflected on the screen is pure magic. The actor started his Bollywood journey with Mira Nair’s Monsoon Weddings. Although it took him some time to make his own mark as an actor, he surprised audiences and critics alike with his ability to get skin deep into the roles he plays. Not one to shy away from a complex, unconventional role, Randeep Hooda instead experiments with roles that have helped him make a mark in the industry. Not only has he excelled in critically acclaimed films but also in films that are successful at the box office such as Jannat 2, Jism 2, Cocktail, Kick and Baaghi 2. He also made his Hollywood debut with the film Extraction. The actor has played roles ranging from a ruthless kidnapper to a police officer and a prisoner being tortured in Pakistan. As the actor turns a year older today, we look at the top five films that won him widespread critical acclaim.

Motorway

Highway is the film that marks one of the best on-screen performances of Randeep Hooda. He essays the role of Mahabir Bhati in the film, a local goon who abducts a young Veera Tripathi, daughter of a business tycoon. The unconventional film then traces the lives of Veera Tripathi and Mahabir Bhati with childhood references that shaped them into the individuals they are. The film takes a turn as Veera finds solace after being kidnapped as she feels freedom like she hasn’t before. On the other hand, Bhati goes through a journey fueled by hatred towards the rich and privileged, but he develops feelings for Veera as the story progresses. By the end of the film, one cannot help but root for Mahabir Bhati. Highway is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed films starring Randeep Hooda. The actor holds his own with a remarkable performance as he really gets into the skin of the character in the film.

Randeep Hooda

Sarbjit

Sarbjit tells the poignant and heartbreaking story of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian who was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1991. Randeep Hooda essays the role of Sarabjit in this biopic. One night in a state of intoxication, Sarabjit crosses the India-Pakistan border and wakes up in Pakistan. He is then convicted of being an Indian spy who was instrumental in causing the Lahore bombings. After being tortured year after year in his prison cell, he eventually receives a death sentence and spends 22 years in prison before dying under suspicious circumstances in the prison cell. According to reports, Randeep Hooda underwent a massive physical transformation for the role and lost 18 kg in 28 days. Revisiting his transformation, Hooda mentioned on his social media that it almost killed him. The actor weighed 94 kg before he started shooting for Sarbjit. He recalled in an interview with a leading publication that the lack of sugar almost drove him crazy and the nights when he was so hungry that he could not fall asleep. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and Randeep Hooda won critical acclaim for his performance as Sarabjit.

Randeep Hooda

Once upon a time in Mumbaai

Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai is considered a turning point in Randeep Hooda’s life. His impeccable performance in the film is what led to him being recognized as a bankable actor. The 2010 gangster film was directed by Milan Luthria. Along with Randeep Hooda, the film also starred Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai and Kangana Ranaut. The film was based on the Mumbai underworld and essayed gangsters Dawood Ibrahim and Haji Mastan. In the film, Randeep Hooda plays the role of ACP Agnel Wilson, who is a character based on police officer Julio Ribeiro. When Randeep Hooda was initially offered the role, he had his own misgivings because he had played similar roles before. But Milan Luthria convinced him to be a part of the film. Although his role was not big, he made an impression with his acting skills. Looking back on the film, Hooda considers it one of his best performances of the decade.

Randeep Hooda

Rank Rasiya

Rang Rasiya directed by Ketan Mehta is an erotic drama film based on the life of 19th century Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma. Along with Randeep Hooda, the film stars Nandana Sen as the love interest. In the film, Randeep Hooda plays the role of Raja Ravi Varma in two phases, as a 20-year-old and as a 60-year-old. To play India’s first celebrity artist, Randeep Hooda also learned to paint. The film begins with a scene where Raja Ravi Varma is being trained in Kerala. Later in life, Varma visits Bombay in the British era. This is when he meets Sugandha, who eventually becomes his muse. As the film progresses, we see the artist arrested and charged with obscenity and hurting people’s religious feelings through his art. Randeep Hooda won critical acclaim for playing Raja Ravi Varma with such ease and poise. His performance also earned him a Filmfare Awards nomination for Best Actor.

Randeep Hooda

Extraction

Extract marks Randeep Hooda’s entry into Hollywood. The film directed by Sam Hargrave stars Chris Hemsworth and Pankaj Tripathi among others. The action thriller revolves around an Australian mercenary who is sent on a mission to rescue the son of an Indian drug lord who has been taken to Bangladesh. Randeep Hooda played the role of Saju Rav, a former para and lieutenant colonel and head of security. He plays the role of the drug lord’s son Ovis’ protector. And when he hears about the kidnapping, he visits the drug lord in prison, who orders him to retrieve his son from Bangladesh. Tyler Rake played by Hemsworth is hired to extract Ovi, but when Saju finds out that Ovi’s father has no funds to pay the mercenaries because his accounts have been frozen by the authorities. He then devises a plan to kill Tyler’s teammates to cheat them out of the payment. The story continues with major twists and turns that keep the audience glued to their seats. Randeep Hooda exceeded expectations with his role as an action anti-hero in the film.

Randeep Hooda

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