Rendezvous With Randeep Hooda

His looks, his acting, the aura he exudes and his gaze – they all leave us awestruck. At the lush Atmantan Wellness Resort, Pune, Randeep Hooda reveals what makes him the way he is
By Rama Ahuja

What does wellness mean to you?
It is a state of mind. When we are young, we follow reckless lifestyles and abuse our bodies. But as we grow older and realise that we have to take our bodies through the course of our lives, we need to make the choice to take our minds and bodies to a state of wellness. It is all about making the right choices repeatedly and throughout our lives.

And beauty?
It has several layers. Although most of humanity is smitten by what is on the surface, I like the eyes, because they are truly a window to one’s soul. Everything else can be enhanced and accentuated.

Do you follow a skincare routine?
I have good genes to begin with, and then I have my makeup artist Renuka Pillai, who takes good care of me and ensures that my skin gets the nourishment it needs. Just keeping one’s face clean, exfoliating regularly and not over moisturising works rather well.

A grooming tip for the men of today.
Go natural. Being well-groomed is one thing, but pampering yourself with endless products is something else altogether. One should spend time outdoors, be at one with the elements and get kissed by the sun a little. Nothing compares to the glow that comes with a healthy tan.

What kind of diet plan do you follow?
Last year, I went on some extreme diets to lose and gain weight. I went from being 72 to 95 kilograms and then came back to 65 kilograms. I had no fat to lose – it was all muscle mass. People don’t realise that they need to have a healthy relationship with food. Food that you enjoy, feeds not only your stomach, but also your soul. One must have a great body image more than anything else.

Randeep Hooda

What about fitness?
I am more of a gym person. Although, I do intend to learn yoga. Apart from going to the gym, I ride horses and practice mixed martial arts.

A health tip you swear by.
Don’t smoke, and drink in moderation, and only if you have to. Get enough sleep and, most importantly, spend time outdoors. Indulge in sports, not gadgets and gyms. Most men have shapely bodies, but lack core strength – the ability to carry a bucket of water, for instance. So, get out and stay outdoors.

How do you de stress?
I have been quite happy-go-lucky until recently –partying excessively and not sleeping for days. But now, I am beginning to improve my lifestyle. I am learning how to meditate. I like waking up in the morning and spending time by myself. Drinkinga
nice cup of tea, putting on some soothing music, or spending time with my dog helps me relax. Lying in bed with the television on is my idea of relaxing after a long day at work.

Which is your favourite spa?
Atmantan Wellness Resort, Pune. I checked in here last evening with terrible congestion and a cough, but decided to get a massage anyway. I was recommended the ‘Invigorating Massage’ followed by a steam, which has really helped me relax. I didn’t expect to see immediate results, but I feel very energetic.

Any other memorable spa experiences?
I usually make it a point to visit the spa in whichever luxury hotel I stay in. I was at Park Hyatt Chennai recently, and had one of the most amazing massages at the spa there. The masseuse went for my knots with a vengeance. All the problem areas were well taken care of and I walked out of the spa feeling light and easy.

randeep hooda

Tell us about your childhood.
I was a child who always looked out of the window and stared at these buffaloes that were swimming in a pond. I would romanticise about how I would run amongst them. I was a pretty lonely child and hardly ever smiled. If something interested me, I’d want to understand it through and through. For example, when we would fly kites, I wanted to know which direction the wind would blow from, or how many TV antennae would come in the way of my kite. You’re very passionate about sports.

Did you train to be a sportsman?
I went to Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai. It was but natural for me to get into sports. We had Olympics-level facilities and got exposure to a variety of sports. That’s where I started riding horses. My classmates would play some sport or the other and would regale me with stories about the competitions they had participated in. It was a great environment to grow up in. The best part is that I still participate in sporting events and win medals.

When did the transition from sports to cinema happen? Did you always want to become an actor?
I still remember the first movie I ever watched – Nikaah, and the first movie I watched in a theatre was  a local Haryanvi movie. Our school showed us an English movie every weekend. I would eagerly wait for the movies and watch them religiously. After the movie, I would enact parts and emulate my favourite heroes. This one time, I watched my sister perform on stage and she won the best actress award for a play in which even I had a tiny role. It was then that I realised if she could do it, I could too. That’s how my acting journey started – with those weekly movies and my sister’s award-winning performance as motivation. I always knew I wanted to be an actor.