The Art of Delicate Balance

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Where there are studs, there is Randeep Hooda. His love for horses, his nonchalance towards stardom and his sardonic sense of humour make him terribly attractive. He’s a true man. A Jat, a gentleman, a philanthropist, there seem to be countless facets to his personality. In a skin-deep industry he stands out on his own. He takes pride in his attachment to real life, in his pursuit of being a better human. His conversations are witty, heady and as entertaining as his films.

Even on busy days, he makes sure he spends at least four hours with the horses, practising his sport. “I’m a sportsman at heart  and I love animals. So it’s a natural passion for me. Also, in this sport, the retirement age is prolonged. I’m 38 and I come from a sports school. I’m the only person from my school who’s winning medals at the highest level. It’s like being an actor who’s getting good work even late in his career. Someone who isn’t relegated to being hero ka bhai,” he laughs.

Usually, the only company he has at the race course is his driver, pet dog Candy and of course the horses. “It’s meditative. It gives me a sense of something bigger than just ‘Fridays’. It gives me a sense of freedom from people of the film industry. Not that anything is wrong with them; I quite enjoy their company because I have no agendas with anybody. I feel no sense of competition. But still my passion keeps me away from that because there’s a ‘me me me… look at me…’ kind of a syndrome that seems to creep in from all sides.”

While the world is concerned about box-office receipts, Randeep loses sleep over the well-being of his horses. Of the 36 horses he owns under his team The Royal Roosters, six are in Mumbai. He says, “Ranji, who was my top horse, got laminitis (a foot disease). Everyone said put him down but I refused. Now, he’s well and he might even start coming back to work. It’s a freak case. Also, Cupa from Holland developed a larynx problem. He’s already undergone two operations and on his way to the third and is out of service. Johnny Walker, my old faithful, beautiful and most photographed horse is going to be in advanced grade now. He’s doing a flying change well on his left leg. I find these things more engrossing than what movie I am doing, am I being written about or not, am I relevant? The equestrian distraction keeps me fresh, fearless and in a league of my own.”