Randeep Hooda wanted to keep his personal life a mystery but feels social media ruined his plans. The actor says he still tries to lie low as he is not comfortable talking about himself in public.
There's no big PR mechanism in place to keep him in the public eye while he works on his selective projects, which mostly take up a lot of time to finish. Also, Randeep doesn't use social media to keep his fans updated about his personal life, but to be heard on social issues.
It all seems part of a plan to keep the "mysterious" tag.
"I think social media has come in and stuffed out my plans. I was planning to be this actor about whom you would know nothing. I let the cat out of the bag but I am not comfortable with taking pictures. I am not comfortable sitting and talking about myself," Randeep told IANS in an interview here.
"Even if you go to my social media accounts (you will see that) I am usually talking about social issues, about the environment, or to do with the emancipation of different things," the actor added.
He vented on Gurgaon being renamed Gurugram, the attack on filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and became the target of criticism for mocking Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur who was under troll attack for standing up to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The actor says he is finding his way around social media.
"I come from a village and I try to raise a voice from their point of view as well... I don't know whether it makes a difference or not."
Talking about feminism, he said: "I am not a hardcore feminist. The feminist dialogue that does not include men is an empty dialogue. It has to be inclusive and can't be exclusive... If you are always offensive, then you are alienating those people."
Randeep also pointed out that there is "an element of commercialisation of this revolution or ideology".
"It will find its balance. People will start seeing through the fake and start going for real."
Randeep, who co-owns Body Building India and launched Gym 99, has never shied away from taking bold roles.
Asked if the tone of Indian cinema is becoming more sexually liberal, he curtly said: "I am no expert in it."
At present, Randeep's name features in the list of one of the most promising actors of Bollywood. But it wasn't an easy ride into showbiz.
Hailing from Rohtak in Haryana, Randeep spent almost six years in Australia as a student and worked as a taxi driver at night. He got his first break in 2001 with Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding" due to his Australian accent.
Randeep followed up his act with "D" in 2005 but faced a setback due to a string of flops. Back then, he was in the news more for his relationship with actress and former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen than for his work. The actor bounced back with Milan Luthria's "Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai" in 2010.
His filmography shines with projects like "Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster", "Jism 2", "Highway", "Kick", "Sarbjit", "Sultan", "Laal Rang", "Main Aur Charles" and "Rang Rasiya". He also debuted on the small screen as the host of "MTV Big F Season 2" this year.
Explaining the idea behind being picky, Randeep said: "Every project of mine carries a lot more weight for me because I do few of them. I don't call it risky. It is walking the talk."
The 40-year-old is prepping up for the historical drama, "The Battle of Saragarhi", in which he will be seen essaying the role of a Sikh character.
"This guy is a bit of a hero. The film is larger than life, but more on it later," he said, adding that prep to get into the skin of his Sikh character is going well.
"The hair (has grown) up to my lower chest now," he quipped.