In an engaging discussion with mid-day, Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda delves into the raw and real details of his extreme weight loss journey—shedding 32 kilos and sustaining an underweight frame for an extended period of 18 months—for his role in “Swatantrya Veer Savarkar.”

The snag in the production schedule threw unexpected challenges at Hooda. With a firmly established deadline for the commencement and conclusion of the movie initially agreed upon, the postponement led to unexpected circumstances. Following the initial abandonment by producers, Hooda found himself dangerously deprived of muscle mass. He describes an incident where he collapsed and fell from his horse, in stark demonstration of his physical frailty. In a concerning episode, he had to self-correct a disturbing dislocation of his leg and endure two months confined to his bed, succumbing to “revenge eating” due to the prolonged fasting he had undergone.

However, when production gears started turning again, Hooda faced the monumental pressure of needing to revert to his emaciated figure rapidly—a process entailing the loss of a kilo per day. He resorted to a stringent regime known as the fast mimicking diet, which eventually placed him back into the physical state that the role necessitated. Despite the arduous process, Hooda holds fast to the belief that embodying the physicality of a character is a fundamental commitment actors ought to make.

Amidst this taxing transformation, the actor’s sister, Dr. Anjali Hooda Sangwan, provided not just professional guidance but also played a commendable role in the film. She vigilantly monitored her brother’s health and offered stern warnings against further weight loss. Randeep Hooda, now with a sense of humor surrounding his ordeal, acknowledges the severity of the feat, which he also managed while directing the film. A 92-kilo cop was the role that had preceded this film and hence, shedding weight down to 60 kilos was not just a leap but a complete transformation.

The toll on Hooda’s mental and physical health was unmistakable. He candidly reveals the aftereffects of his experience—the need for anti-anxiety medication and sleep aids, and the repercussions of sustained hunger. The latter, while heightening his mental activity, had simultaneously deprived him of sleep-inducing hormones. Hooda confesses the permanent alterations to his body, now 20 kilos heavier but undefined and lacking prior muscle mass. An impending knee operation, due to a severely damaged ACL, is a stark indicator of the physical costs of his dedication.

An enthusiastic equestrian, Hooda shares that his passion for riding had to be sidelined during this time, affecting him profoundly. Yet, he looks forward to returning to racing with his new horse, Hope. Drawing parallels between his journey and the distinct efforts of famed actor Christian Bale in “The Machinist,” Hooda openly speculates about whether he might endure such a drastic transformation again.

Reflecting on the process, Hooda expresses the hope that future roles will be less extreme, though he is drawn to roles that resonate with him deeply, a sentiment that led him to portray the notable figure Mr. Savarkar. Nonetheless, if another such role comes his way, he insists on working with individuals who appreciate the project’s quality and his well-being, tying the commitment with contractual obligations as a safety measure.

Through Hooda’s candid recounting, it becomes evident that the rigorous undertakings of actors to morph into characters carry a heavy price—one that goes beyond mere weight in kilos and touches upon the profound essence of personal health and safety.

By IPL Agent

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