New Delhi, Feb. 28 -- Randeep Hooda's character - Mahavir Bhati - in Highway is everything you don't expect from a mainstream actor in a mainstream film - he roams around in tattered lungis, hits the girl, spouts heavy duty expletives and hardly ever shows his emotions.
While preparing for his role, the actor visited rural places near Faridabad with Imtiaz and met some 'colourful Gujjars' as he calls them. "We spent time with them, had drinks, recorded them and tried to learn their dialect," he says. "I am a Jat and the Jat and Gujjar dialects are very similar, so that was the tough part - finding the small differences and adapting them."
Not many actors would have dared to show the negativity of Bhati, warts and all. Did that worry Randeep? "I never think about what others are doing. I do a film for myself, not others," he says.
Whether people rave about his performance in the movie or they criticise his chemistry with Alia Bhatt in the film, he simply knows the caliber of his performance and doesn't care for the rest.
"Imtiaz is such a sensitive and wonderful director to work with - he knew the difference of approach for me and Alia," says Hooda.
About why he took up Highway, he says, "I have this soft spot for have-nots. So, I was really inclined to portray their pain and pathos in Highway."
There are a few people who did not like the chemistry between Ali and Randeep in Highway. How does he take that? "Those are the kind of people we don't want to watch our film. There are people who have watched Highway five times!" says the actor.
Romance, for Randeep, is "not about looking at each other but looking in the same direction." Ask him how he got into the zone of portraying dons on the silver screen, and he says, "Portraying a don or the bad guy was never new for me. When in school (DPS RK Puram, Delhi), I was given the title of Randeep 'Don' Hooda at my farewell. So I guess I was always in that zone!"