Vivek Oberoi

Vivek is a person who loves to experiment and do different types of roles. He has played an underworld don in Company and won applauds for his splendid performance. The next movie, 'Road' saw him in a completely different role. Today he has film offers from top banners and is working with the likes of Feroz Nadiadwala, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Ram Gopal Varma, Zoya Akthar, Sachin Bajaj, Rajiv Menon. Neha Irani, SeasonsIndia correspondent had a tête-à-tête with this dynamic young actor.

Excerpts from the interview

'Road' didn't do well as was expected. What do you think went wrong?

Road may not have met with a terrific response, but it has definitely not been a losing proposition business-wise. But you cant say that it was a flop coz people in metros loved it and it really did good at major cities. After all the subject was very different and was an experiment infact. I am proud to be a part of it though.

But don't you agree that Road wasn't actually your film. You had a very limited role and infact your part after the interval was only for about 15 mins. So don't you think you made a mistake doing a not so important role in your second film itself?
Well I do agree that my role was not the central character of the film but I am not at all sorry or prejudiced by that. Road was a good idea and a great film. When I heard the story, I wanted to do Manoj Bajpai's part but Ramuji didn't want me to play a villain at this point. But the strange part is that after watching Manoj play the part of Babu, I told Ramuji that thanks for stopping me from doing Babu's role as I wouldn't have been able to hold a candle to his performance. He was absolutely stunning. I really had a great time. And as far as the length of my role is concerned I don't think I don't think there was a deliberate effort to sideline my role. The story demanded it and as I said I was never the central character. The representation of a character in a film is entirely up to its makers and it is their prerogative to present the film in the manner they think best. I am very happy with my performance in Road and given an opportunity I would again be a part of such a film.

Is it true that post Road your relations with Ram Gopal Verma are a bit strained?

Not at all. Who comes up with such stories? Ramu-ji has recently signed me for two more films, one of which will be directed by him. This is all humbug. Ramu-ji has always been an ardent well-wisher. Even in ROAD, I was very keen on doing Manoj's character, but Ramu-ji advised me not to go for it because he wanted me to continue doing positive roles on hero-oriented track.

So what new projects apart from 'Saathiya' are you working on?
There is 'DUM', which is an interesting film. I am also doing Sachin Bajaj's 'BARAAT' with Kareena, and then there is 'KYON? HO GAYA NA', which is a romantic comedy with Aishwarya Rai. There is also Zoya Akhtar's project in the pipeline. Apart from these, there are a handful of interesting projects in which I play diverse roles.

So are you excited and nervous about the public response to 'Saathiya'?
Well, I am nervous, Yes, and excited too. Saathiya is a sensitively made fun film. The film has the master screenplay of Mani Ratnam and it has been pieced together beautifully. Shaad is a competent director, which is evident from the look of the film and the way he has handled the scenes in it. Over and above, Yash-ji is ensuring that the film has a proper and big release. From the way the film has shaped up, I am counting on it as another ace in my career (smiles).

So tell us more about 'Saathiya".
Saathiya is a fun film about two people in love who marry and have problems in their marriage. I play Aditya while Rani plays my wife and lover Suhani.Then calamity strikes and in an accident Aditya loses his love. Noone knows about Suhani's whereabouts. It is a romantic film and at the same time has many complex angles in the film. It is the re-make of Mani Ratnam's Alai Payuthe. It has got Mani Ratnam's screenplay. Music by A.R.Rehman and directed by Shaad Ali. It was a very challenging role and those who can't imagine me in softer romantic roles should see Sathiya.

How was it working with Rani Mukherjee?

Oh, she is a great person. Rani is an absolute entertainer. I call her goondi. She is a badmash. She can be such a lady at times and then turn into a tomboy the next minute. It was great to work with her. She is very co-operative and down to earth.

What kind of film is Dum?
Dum is an action film basically a hardcore commercial masala movie done with a serious approach and not much creative license. Dum is not about the power of the bicep it is about the power of the spirit. It's about a man who says it is convenient to have principles but tough to live by them. He goes on believing in the law and uses the law to get them.

How was it working with Diya Mirza?
Working with Diya was fun. She is a complete paradox. She is mature and immature at the same time. I sometimes wonder how Bunty (Walia) manages her. At the same time I keep complementing him that he is a lucky guy. Actually in the beginning she thought that I was khadus (snobbish) coz I take a while to open up with people while she was quite bindaas in our first meeting. But then we were cool.

What are your criteria before accepting any offer?

Well first of all the role should be interesting and appeal to me. I don't even mind playing a negative character if the character is strong. And that is why I wanted so much to do Manoj Bajpai's part in 'Road'. For me the length of the role is not important.I do ask for the script before signing a film, but once I sign a film, I do so with complete faith and confidence in the director. It is very important for me to know the role first. And actually many didn't like the fact that I asked for a script before signing. They said 'Kal ka bachcha mujhe na karta hai. Maine paise diye aur who script mangta hai.' I don't like the approach.

One last question when are you tying the knot?

Well not so soon definitely. I have a dream and right now I am working hard towards achieving it. Marriage will happen but not so soon (smiles). And my girlfriend also supports me and stands by me at all thick and thins of life.