, Haryana, India
Randeep Hooda is an Indian film actor who appears in Hindi-language films. Hooda began acting in school productions at a young age. After completing his studies in Melbourne, he returned to India and began modelling and acting in theatre.
Hooda made his Bollywood debut with Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding in 2001. However, after a good performance in the film he waited four years for a second project: Ram Gopal Varma's D (2005), which earned him critical acclaim. After D Hooda worked on a series of unsuccessful projects until he featured in Milan Luthria's Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai (2010), which proved to be a turning point in his career. He was subsequently noted for his performances in Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster (2011) and Jannat 2 (2012).
In addition to acting in film and theatre, Hooda regularly participates professionally in equestrian sports such as polo and show jumping. He is a social activist. Hooda was born Randeep Singh Hooda on 20 August 1976, in Rohtak, a town in the northern Indian state of Haryana, to Dr. Ranbir Hooda (a surgeon) and Asha Hooda (a social worker). He also has an older sister, Dr. Anjali Hooda Sangwan, a US-Trained Obesity Medicine Specialist and a younger brother, Sandeep Hooda, a Software Engineer working in Singapore.
Hooda belongs to a jat family, As a child Hooda studied at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports (MNSS), a boarding school in Rai, Sonepat, Haryana. He was involved in swimming and equestrian sports (including tent pegging and show jumping, winning medals at the national level. Hooda later developed an interest in theatre and participated in school productions, directing one. In an interview with Rediff.com, he said that he loved appearing in front of people. However, his family wanted him to be a doctor and he was transferred to Delhi Public School, R. K. Puram in New Delhi. Hooda described the transition from an environment where he was popular to one in which he was unknown as "difficult". Instead of acting in school productions, he became mischievous to fit in with the other boys in his hostel. He later recalled, "If anybody had to skip school, leave school, get drinks, get their exam papers done by someone else, I was the guy who arranged all that ... I was a bit short-tempered and a bit frustrated in school so all that contributed [to the attitude]."
After completing his schooling, Hooda moved to Melbourne in 1995 and received a bachelor's degree in marketing and a master's degree in business management and human resource management. During that period, he worked in a Chinese restaurant, a car-wash, waited tables and drove a taxi for two years. In 2000, Hooda returned to India and worked in the marketing department of an airline. He subsequently started modelling and working in amateur theatre in Delhi. While rehearsing for his first play he received a call from director Mira Nair, who wanted him to audition for a part. Hooda made his acting debut in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding (2001), playing a non-resident Indian from Australia. Although the film was a critical and commercial success, he waited four years for a second project. In the meanwhile, Hooda worked in theatre and did television commercials to support himself financially. He also attended (and assisted) an imagination and improvisation workshop conducted by Naseeruddin Shah at the National School of Drama in New Delhi.
In 2005 Hooda was cast as the male lead in Ram Gopal Varma's gritty gangster film D, allegedly based on the life of Dawood Ibrahim. His performance in the film received positive reviews. After D, Hooda appeared in a series of critically and commercially unsuccessful films such as Darna Zaroori Hai (2006), Risk (2007), Ru Ba Ru (2008), Rang Rasiya (2008), Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye (2009), Karma Aur Holi (2009) and Love Khichdi (2009).
In 2010 Hooda appeared in Milan Luthria's Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, a period action drama depicting the rise of organised crime in Mumbai. Co-starring alongside Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Kangna Ranaut and Prachi Desai, Hooda played ACP Agnel Wilson. His performance in the film was appreciated by critics, and proved to be a turning point in his career. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning over INR 780 million (US$12 million) in India. Hooda later attributed his success to this film: "Things have really changed for me professionally because before Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai I did take a hiatus from acting, but that film brought me back in a big way. Now other directors and production houses look at me as an actor who can carry bigger parts and a longer screen presence."
The following year, Hooda featured in Tigmanshu Dhulia's romantic thriller Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster with Jimmy Shergill and Mahie Gill. The film (and his portrayal of a gangster who falls in love with a married woman while working as her driver) earned rave reviews from critics. In an interview with Digital Spy, Hooda said "My inspiration for this character went back to my roots in Haryana, to the time I grew up and people I observed. My uncles were drivers and I thought of those times and people around me."
Hooda's first film in 2012 was Kunal Deshmukh's crime thriller Jannat 2, a sequel to Jannat (2008). While the film received mixed reviews from critics, Hooda was praised for his performance. It was a commercial success, with a domestic revenue of over INR 410 million (US$6.3 million). Hooda's next appearance was in Pooja Bhatt's erotic thriller Jism 2 opposite Sunny Leone. The film, and Hooda's performance, received mixed reviews from critics. Hooda's final film of the year was Madhur Bhandarkar's drama Heroine, starring Kareena Kapoor, in which he played cricketer Angad Paul. Before the start of principal photography, Arunoday Singh was chosen for the role but was dropped for unknown reasons. Media reports began speculating about several actors (such as Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan and Prateik Babbar), although Bhandarkar later confirmed that he selected Hooda after seeing his performance in Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster (2011). The film received mixed to negative reviews, but Hooda's performance was appreciated by the critics.
In 2013, Hooda starred opposite Aditi Rao Hydari and Sara Loren in Vishesh Bhatt's Murder 3, an official remake of the 2011 Colombian thriller The Hidden Face. The film and his portrayal of Vikram (a fashion and wildlife photographer) garnered mixed to negative feedback from critics. As of March 2013, Hooda featured in the anthology film Bombay Talkies (in the segment directed by Karan Johar) alongside Rani Mukerji and Saqib Saleem.
He has been signed for several other projects, including Vishram Sawant’s Shooter, John Day, Fanne Khan, Rensil D’Silva’s Ungli, Pooja Bhatt's Bad, Imtiaz Ali's Highway and Sajid Nadiadwala's Kick. Apart from his reputation as an intense actor, Hooda is also considered one of the most attractive celebrities in India due to his rugged good looks. In 2010, he ranked 21st in The Times of India's annual list of the 50 most desirable men of 2009. In 2011, a global online survey conducted by Internet Movie Database (IMDb) ranked him seventh on its list of the "20 sexiest men in the world". Although surprised and grateful, Hooda maintained that he is not swayed by such labels: "I want people to know me for my body of work, than just my body. Being sexy can always just be an added advantage, not the be-all and end-all for an actor." During an interview with Mid Day, Hooda said that during his early years in the industry people saw him as an "explosive Jat boy" and had a calculated approach to him due to his attitude. He added, "Now, I'm a bit more careful. I've changed the way I express myself." Having lived in a hostel from a young age, Hooda said "I've always had a good time, it's something that gives me my spirit and fuels my spirit as well. Now I want my parents to live with me, I want to enjoy their company more." Speaking about his parents (who live in Faridabad, Haryana), Hooda said that he shares a great relationship with them and their openness to everything has helped him in life.
He considers Naseerudin Shah as his "mentor, friend and confidant": "He’s an inspiration and somebody who has helped nurtured me as an actor not necessarily my career but my craft. He’s also the one who opened my eyes to the world of acting."
Hooda was in a relationship with former Miss Universe and actress Sushmita Sen from 2004 to 2006. He later said that ending their relationship changed his career. "The break-up was the best thing that happened to me and I realised that I gave it too much time in my life. It freed my energy to do things for myself." Hooda owns a stray dog named Candy who, he says, energises his life.