After Highway and Rang Rasiya, Randeep Hooda plays an enigmatic central role of the infamous Charles Sobhraj in Main Aur Charles. Randeep has immersed himself into the character completely and is winning raves for his performance from those who have seen the film’s trailer.
Your new film Main Aur Charles is based on famous criminal Charles Shobhraj. How close is the film to his life?
It’s very close to life. Police officer Amod Kanth has given us the information about Charles and the incidents that have taken place. Of course, this is a film so we had to fictionalise it a bit.
What did you find fascinating about your character?
According to our study, Charles also doesn’t know who he is...roop badal chuka hai. His biggest problem was that he came from a dysfunctional family. He roamed a lot around France and Vietnam. He had no identity of his own so he kept on creating his own identity. Charles is good at human relations; he has mastered human interaction and that sets him apart from other people. He says that he will get out of any situation as long as people are involved. He has spent 30-40 years in jail. When he is outside jail, he feels less important and that is why he keep doing things and goes in jail. He is a great marketer…he knows how to create stories and then sell them.
What kind of preparations did you make for this film?
We are very interested in him and have tried to explore him in the film. We have spent many years detailing his character and we hope he will like it.
Did you reach out to the real Charles?
We did not want to disturb him. We did the research, we had the charge sheet that was filed and we got information from Amod Kanth. This is an account of the jail break. I would like to make him watch the film so that we can show to him that it is accurate.
Do you empathise with him?
I empathise with him; how else can I play a character? But I do not feel sorry for him. He knows what he is doing. In fact sometimes when I get up from sleep, I feel that maybe he knows what I’m doing. It is strange and I feel he is around and understands what I would do. That is the kind of omnipresence the character has.
Are real life gangsters glamorised in cinema?
This guy is not a gangster; he insists that he has not done anything wrong in his life. Other gangsters maybe glamorized because of Charles Sobhraj; but he himself is very glamorous.
He was also dubbed a bikini killer. What’s your take on it?
It has never been proved.
You played Raja Ravi Verma in Rang Rasiya too. Is it a challenge to play a real-life character?
How much truth you can instill in it is between you and the director but mostly you have to follow a script, not the real life. A script is a conscious filtration of real life; otherwise we will have to make a film that is 20 or 40 years long.
But I do find these characters fascinating and the best part of my job is to live many lives without any real repercussions. That thrills me.