With the positive response to the film, Randeep is convinced that his choice of unconventional roles is in sync with the changing times in filmdom.

Conscious of the fact that he cannot compete with the 'Rajs' and 'Prems' of Hindi cinema, the actor acknowledges there is enough space for him to show his creativity in both commercial and parallel cinemas.

"A Bollywood hero, for most people, has been a Raj, a Rahul or a Prem... it's now a part of the psyche," Randeep said.

"Earlier, it was different. There were bigger superstars playing the lead roles, the hero was different - a clean, good guy. But I never adhered to it," he added.

The way Randeep carries his role in Highway in the road movie reflects his command over his skills and shows why actors with a theatre background have something different about them.

"I have been working relentlessly and equally hard on all my films throughout my career. But I knew that working with a name like Imtiaz will give me an audience of a lot more people," said the actor, who is relishing the positive response to "Highway".

"A lot more people have watched 'Highway' and also it has been watched by different kinds of people... It got a more urban and wider audience. I have got great feedback for the film. Lots of people have said it is the 'redefining Randeep Hooda performance'. I guess that is the victory with 'Highway'," he added.

The 37-year-old, who leaves a lasting impression as Mahabir Bhati, a violent kidnapper with the vulnerability of a child in "Highway", says he has learned survival tricks.

"The hero is changing in Bollywood and I approach a hero's role like a character by focussing on its weaknesses. I feel the weaknesses of a character make them more alive, relatable, and human. Gladly, that's gaining acceptance among viewers these days and the success of 'Highway' is a proof," he said.

"In that sense, I am glad that I am with the times, and not behind it," he added.

As a big screen performer, Randeep began his tryst with Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding" in 2001.


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