‘I don’t have the capacity to juggle work’ – Vivek Oberoi

In the recent past, Vivek Oberoi has been written about less for his work and more for his link ups (which are yet to be proven) and an affair (which ended years ago). Irrespective of all that, he still manages to be in the news (for many a reason) reinforcing the fact that this actor cannot be ignored.

As one begins to talk to him, one ends up realising that there is so much more to speak of than his notorious past. For Vivek, life is forward now. After the release of Shootout At Lokhandwala, wherein he portrays the character of Maya Dolas, he wants to go for a holiday, indulge into many adventurous sports before he turns 30 and work on just one film at a time.


Is Shootout At Lokhandwala a comeback vehicle of sorts?
Comeback vehicle? Had I gone anywhere? I had not gone anywhere, so I am not coming back. It’s a film; it’s not a comeback vehicle or a go away vehicle.

Omkara was followed with Naksha, which was not noticeable enough.
Exactly! This is why people do not remember it, and this is why I do not want to do any more work that people do not remember.

Last year, after I wrapped up shooting Naksha and Fool and Final, I was shooting Omkara and I really enjoyed the experience so much. I felt fortunate to be a part of it. It made me make a conscious decision that I wanted to take a break from everything and do a film only if I felt really truly excited.

So is this a comeback of your passion?
When I was four years old, I just wanted to act, nothing else mattered. Money, fame, glory, publicity, covers, awards… nothing mattered. I wanted to go back to that state of mind where my means was my end. I don’t want to act in a movie to buy an expensive car and a house. The joy was that if I act in a movie, I act in a movie.

Somewhere I had lost that, so in finding Maya Dolas, I found myself as an actor again. Our industry is a fascinating place. It is a mayanagri, (pun intended!), where you tend to get carried away and sucked in by a lot of other things. It takes a little bit of tempering down to realise what you want from it.

Some people want to work for money, for fame or power, some people want to work for just the work. I am one of them. So after I decided this, I took a break until Shootout At Lokhandwala came along. It took me two to three weeks to take a decision on this film, after which I swore to myself that I am not going to do another film. I am not going to be shooting this film and calling somebody on the sets and discussing another script which I am going to be shooting six months later.

I, as an actor, as an individual and as a human being, don’t think I have the capacity to juggle work. Which is why I haven’t signed a single film, which is why I have nothing on the floors right now, which is why I am going to take a big well deserved holiday after the release of Shootout At Lokhandwala and then come back and think.

You sound like you are planning your moves wisely. Does that mean your motivations to work earlier were mistakes?
I acted for many different reasons. I love my mistakes because if I did not make those mistakes, I wouldn’t learn, and if I didn’t learn, I wouldn’t have this experience that is going to help me further.

I believe that God is my best friend. I have believed that since I was a kid. My belief just gets stronger with every failure, because I realise that every time I fail, he is being kind enough to teach me a lesson. He is preparing me for all that I aspire to.

Every film has a certain intent. Sometimes the intent works and translates till the end, and sometimes it is lost somewhere midway. You might sign a film thinking that it is going to be ground breaking, but all you realise during the shooting is that it is head breaking!           

Your role in Shootout At Lokhandwala required you to do a lot of research, including meeting some murderers. Please share your experience.
Yes, I went and even did side profiles with murderers to understand what gets them kicked about killing people. Even after killing people and serving time, some of them do not regret it. They think it is a matter of pride.

In a very dark way, it was fascinating to meet them. There is this weird sense of draw that they have. As an actor I tend to observe, look through and understand, so when I went specifically with this intention, it was fascinating to see how some of them are really repentant, though that percentage is very small.   

How is Maya going to face up to so many other characters in the film?
Maya had this tremendous sense of self belief, almost a sense of immortality, he was flirting with destiny all the time, playing hide and seek with destiny all the time.

While signing Shootout At Lokhandwala, how much did you think of your role in Company? That the two characters may be perceived as similar ones by critics or audiences for which then you may have to work towards portraying it differently?
Maya worked for me because it was a dark character. Chandu was brave, but vulnerable and emotional. What really got me kicked about Maya is that he is alluring in a dark way. He is fearless and he uses it as a weapon to leverage his power. He gets high on conflict. It’s almost like if you point a gun at him…he chuckles. It is that intense trip of the character that excited me. It is so edgy…it’s on the edge of being crazy, larger than life, being mad, too smart, too sharp, he is an enigma and that is what excited me about him.

Company was very special because it was my first film. I have a certain sense of respect for Chandu, he is like someone I have known. After Company, I was flooded with offers to do bad boy roles. People thought I was mad to do Saathiya. The reason I did not do another gangster film for five years was because I wanted to be challenged enough to feel that the role demanded enough of me as an actor, to try and transcend that or rather do something diametrically opposite.

Is that why you did romantic films?
I made a conscious effort to do different genres. I did not want to be in a box and be called a romantic hero or an action hero. I wanted to be an actor. That is why I have played slapstick comic characters, dignified characters and romantic characters as well as intense characters.

Do you think you have lost a lot of your female fan following?
What has amazed me in my five years here is the amount of love and adulation I have received from my fans. When I have had some flops in a row and was feeling really low, people would just come up to me and give me so much love and respect for my work, for films I have done before, for films that I think did not do well, even films I did not like myself in, my fans came and said ‘but I loved you in it’.

Box office does not determine what a fan decides. When I started my career, the faceless fan was just a statistic but today, it’s a more emotional connection. Today I really value all my fans. Fans for me are my ultimate support system I would like to thank all my fans for having really been there and stuck by me.        

What are your plans now?
No plans. Sometimes, I have had four releases in a year, sometimes just two. At times, I have been shooting for four or five films at a time and going crazy, and at times, I have just shot one film at a time.

Now I just want to look at nice scripts; finish that, then go for a holiday and chill out, see the world. I have a list of things to do before I turn 30, so I have to achieve that this year. I want to go deep sea diving off the Great Barrier Reef, I want to go shark feeding, I want to go to the Himalayas and attempt to scale Everest at least once in my lifetime, I want to get my official pilot’s license.

Do you have any plans to start your own production house considering that your brother Anand has his own advertising agency and your father himself is such an established actor?
It is a good idea when you talk of it, but we have never had anything concrete on that front. I am a very laid back guy, I like to work and go for holidays.

On a parting note, can you share how you feel when the media still questions you on what had happened so many years ago?
I don’t feel. I just yawn and move on. It is really boring. They should be bored by now; people who are reading about it should be bored by now too. Let’s move on, life is forward.