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'True love is what I am hunting for': Randeep Rai

Thursday, September 07, 2017
By Chaitanya Padukone

A realistic junior-college student-phase flashback that rewinds to the  golden era of the 90’s. That’s exactly what this just-started new Sony TV show ‘Yeh Unn Dino Ki Baat Hai’ from Mon to Fri, in the late-night slot at 10.30 pm promises to offer, even as the story relives and recreates the defining 90’s decade with authentic ‘period’ ambience . Flamboyant model-turned-TV actor Randeep Rai (he calls himself  ‘Jhansi ka Raja’, as he hails from the historic city of Jhansi) plays the lead role of Sameer Maheshwari. Strangely,this new show is being presented by the same controversial Shashi-Sumeet  duo,  whose 'regressive' serial ‘Pehredaar Piya Ki’ was abruptly ousted by the same Sony channel from the same time slot. Afternoon D & C had an exclusive chat with the outspoken Randeep on the sets of his show.

Justify why home-audiences should watch ‘Yeh Unn Dino…’?
That’s because it’s a unique entertaining TV show with a nostalgic flavor, that transports the viewers back to the defining magic moments of the exciting  90’s. There is innocent hush-hush campus teenage romance, the naughty masti-mazaak,  the conservative attitude of the girl’s family, the era of vintage dial land-lines and PCOs--no cell-phones or whatsapp existed then.  Students had to scribble their messages on chits and discreetly send them across to whom they were meant.

What else ?
The 90’s was the decade when  stars like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan emerged the heart-throbs of the nation.  One may recall that Salman’s ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ released end Dec’89 and he ushered in the 90’s decade, with his chocolate-hero lover-boy charisma with his mega-hit ‘MPK’ film. Those days, Salman was certainly not the macho ‘Bhai’, but the ‘young hot guy’ (chuckles).

You seem to be a die-hard fan of Salman ?
You guessed it right!  Not just me, even my character Sameer is affected by         Sal-man-ia. Because Sameer’s expressions, swagger style  and hair-styles have a hang-over influence of  dude ‘Prem’ ( Salman) of the 90’s.

Tell us about the ‘pehla pehla pyaar’ in Sameer’s life?                                                   
(Laughs). The romantic female lead is played by petite ,charming Ashi Singh and her cute student character is called ‘Naina’. There are romantic vibes but it’s discreet and subtle, like it would typically happen in the 90’s. We have an excellent chemistry as would be evident on-screen. And yes, producer Shashi Ma’am has said, that this time, the lead characters will ‘not’ tie the nuptial knot, until they attain their ‘legally marriageable ages.’    

How is your screen-character ‘Sameer’ different from your real-life persona?
It’s strange --we have so many similarities and girls find both me and Sameer very good-looking (blushes). The only difference is that Sameer dislikes his mom in the show for certain reasons, whereas off-screen I am very attached to my mother. Although girls are ‘fidaa’ over me, I don’t get infatuated easily. My mind-set is clear that my ultimate aim is to hunt for ‘true love’ and not indulge in casual flirting. This is both on-screen and off-screen as well.  

You had a 'six-pack' toned body like Salman, but now it’s all gone ?                                                         
That’s because although I am 24 years, I had to portray a 11th-class student of 18 years on-screen. Faced with a dilemma, I had to use my  immense will-power. So I stopped gymming and even lost weight--- that too 12 kgs in just three months. Since it was all career-driven, now I am enjoying the moments of my realistic physical  ‘make-over’.

What are the ‘bonus’ attractions, that rewind us to the 90’s ?
Right from the signature TV show theme sung by the 90’s music luminaries Kumar Sanu and Sadhana Sargam,  backed by the supporting role  of  actress-dancer Vaishnavi  Macdonald, who was a rage, with her famous 1994 song ‘Yeh Ladki Hai Kya’ (Laadla) and veteran actors Kiran ( ‘Tezaab’) Kumar  and Samirbhai Khakhar (of ‘Nukkad’ fame) .

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