Randeep Hooda has time and again surprised everyone with a sense of alacrity in his acting. Whether it was his character of Sarabjit Singh Attwal from Omung Kumar’s directorial Sarbjit, where he had to lose 18 kgs in 28 days to play a simple and unsuspecting man, wrongly captured by Pakistan and later sentenced to death or Rana, a menacing and ruthless drug-lord in Salman Khan’s action-packed thriller film Radhe, the versatile actor is known for pushing the envelope with his performances. Now, the Highway actor is all set to make a remarkable OTT appearance in Balwinder Singh Janjua’s Netflix series CAT. In a conversation with News18.com, Randeep Hooda talked about the upcoming revenge-drama in detail.
Randeep plays a character named Gurnam, an innocent Sikh man who gets embroiled in the tangled and convoluted web of drug-trafficking, political hodgepodge, ganglords, cops and more. On being asked how ‘CAT’ adds to his extensive repertoire of work, he stated, “This series definitely adds a lot of ribbons to it. It’s a very good script consisting of real, strong human conflict at the backdrop of insurgency and drug problems so something which is larger than life in terms of what my character is dealing with. And also, it is also some sort of a transformational role which I missed out on portraying the last time I attempted a Sikh character. So there’s a lot of factors which go for this and obviously I hope it adds a feather in my cap because of the well-made series and my second collaboration with Balwinder Singh Janjua.”
The Highway actor also elaborated upon his process of getting in the skin of the character at the beginning of a project and then later shedding that skin to embody a different character all together. “I think getting yourself aligned with what is required by the script is a very nervous process after all these years as well. And getting out of it is just dumping it on the side and either getting involved in something which is as exciting as leaving Mumbai or wherever you are and going to some other space,” he said.
Randeep also revealed how he prepared to play Gurnam. He shared, “Like you always do. You try to read the script over and over again. You try and understand it. You talk to the director and then you try to get the specifics of look and language right and then you align your thoughts with whatever the screenplay is demanding and after that whatever is left over you try and experiment on the sets. And then somewhere down the link you think this is what Gurnam is.”
If one takes a quick glance at the teaser, fleeting shots of Punjab hinterlands interspersed with fresh faces instantly catches one’s attention. Randeep revealed the thought process behind shooting in real locations and how the cast of the series was decided. He said, “It was tough on the production to find places but they zeroed it down to the city of Amritsar and Majha area which is Taran Taaran, Gurdaspur and Ferozepur. Real locations give a lot of character to the story and give a lot to actors and everybody present to try to create that atmosphere.”
As for the cast of the series, Randeep explained, “I think Balwinder was aiming at getting a very fresh and refreshing cast of good actors and as you see the show, you would realise that it relies on a great ensemble cast which has actors from Punjab, Delhi and Mumbai and the actors have outshone everybody’s expectations and they’ve been chosen to suit their particular roles. There are three other directors – Jimmy Singh, Rupinder Chahal and Anutej Singh. So they were trying to cast actors that are very authentic to Punjab and can play geographical and socio-cultural characters.”
The Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster actor further talked about the relevance of using pure Punjabi dialogues in the series. He stated, “All mainstream movies or the ‘so-called’ mainstream movies which are not so mainstream because nobody is turning up to see them, all of them have lots of Punjabi music which is very popular. So Punjabi is not an alienating language and it’s close to Hindi in the speaking part of it. I believe people who speak Hindi can pick up on Punjabi and since it’s an original language series and if one is going to make a series on Punjab, with Sardars and with big Paggs, they would not be speaking chaste Hindi. So I guess that’s what the natural original language would be.”
Explaining the reason behind keeping the title of the series CAT, Randeep said, “I might be confused about it right now because I shot for the series a year ago. But CAT stands for ‘Counter Attack Technique’. It is a technical term. There were CATs in the insurgency parts. There were CATs employed by RAW, by CBI, by FBI. They are like double agents. Even I didn’t know about CAT being this but I think it’s quite an apt title. And even my character is like a CAT, stealthy and calculative. With those things coming together, I think it has turned out well for the series to have this title CAT”.
CAT is produced by Movie Tunnel Productions in association with Jelly Bean Entertainment. The show is slated to release on Netflix on December 9.