”The ability to make someone happy is my favourite superpower" - Vivek Oberoi
Reveling in his new-found multi-crore success, Vivek Oberoi tells Shweta Kulkarni that 2013 has been his golden year.
With GRAND MASTI astoundingly hitting the jackpot at the box office, followed by an equally victorious KRISSH 3, it’s probably the best time for actor Vivek Oberoi, who has given notable performances in both these films. Just back from a special screening which he held for under-privileged children, Vivek is ecstatic.
“It’s amazing the amount of love they shower on you,” he smiles and continues, “I meet a lot of street children through a friend who runs an NGO and these children asked me what a multiplex looked like... I was like, we take all these simple things for granted and here was a bunch of kids who live in the same city as us and have never been inside a multiplex. So I suggested we have a screening for these kids and took them to PVR today. There were 200 children and they all watched the film and they loved it. We treated them to popcorn, sandwiches etc. I was like, ‘What do you want? You pick what you want.’ It was mad chaos! They loved the film and they loved my character, Kaal. It was a wonderful experience. I think the ability to make someone happy is my favourite superpower. To be able to wipe tears, to be able to bring a smile to someone’s face...I feel so blessed. I feel so blessed that what I do for a living, what I do for a career, puts a smile on someone’s face.”
A year that kick-started with the good news of a new member joining the family, a successful TV debut and now two back-to-back hits… 2013 has clearly proven to be very lucky for Vivek.
“I know, I cannot be more thankful. I am just filled with gratitude and of course joy. 2013 has been a golden year for me. The most special thing about this year is being blessed with my own little super hero in diapers… For me, this year’s biggest, most incredible highlight is my son’s birth. Professionally too it has been truly fulfilling. Started with ‘India’s Best Dramebaaz’, my television debut that I was nervous about initially but it became huge success. Suddenly I found a new audience in children and then after that there was GRAND MASTI, which was a new audience with adults. Mad success! It collected R112 crore. I remember we were adult comedies is s54 crore, which was collected by DELHI BELLY. We were discussing that even if we reached Rs.60 crore we should celebrate it being the highest grossing adult comedy. And then there is more than double the benchmark!” he says excitedly, getting high on the huge BO figures. He continues in the same breath, “I’ve got confirmed news that the first week’s collection of KRISSH 3 is Rs.166 crore. It is the highest grossing first week of all time. KRISSH 3 has defied all odds. We were expecting s12-15 crore on the first day, because it was pre-Diwali, a non-holiday, but it opened to a thunderous Rs. 26 crore. It was the highest ever.”
While both the films, as per trade reports are creating BO history, initially on paper they might have appeared as risky ventures. They are not your conventional Bollywood films, which would guarantee some amount of success. So was he ever apprehensive about doing these films? “I do this session with my dad where I sit with him and ask him, ‘So what do you think? Critique my work, tell me everything that I did wrong. Tell me everything that I did badly so that I can grow’. He just gave me the world’s biggest hug and said, ‘I am so proud that my son is a fearless actor.’ I asked him why he’d said so and he said, ‘As an established hero to take on a super-villain’s role, and to take it on in a massive franchise like KRRISH, who is like the country’s fave super hero… On paper, Krrish is carrying planes, jumping from buildings and saving damsels in distress and he has on the other hand, there is this villain who sits in a chair and can only move two fingers and his face… How did you have the guts to take this role? I am so proud of you.’
In hindsight, it has become hugely successful and probably my most celebrated role where people are saying that critically this is one of my best performances ever. But my dad says that even when it was just on paper, his son had the courage to take that decision.”
He continues enthusiastically, “Both GRAND MASTI and KRISSH 3 in their own way are films that took me out of my comfort zone. Regarding GRAND MASTI, I was extremely embarrassed when I read the script. I was like, ‘Are we really going to do this? We can’t do this, Sir’. However, after a long chat with Induji (Indra Kumar), and the writers of the film, Aftab (Shivdasani) and Ritesh (Deshmukh) I was convinced. Actually, I was the one because of whom the film got delayed…because I kept saying I wouldn’t do this role. Then eventually I said okay. I keep saying I am an actor and if I am an actor, I should be able to put myself out of my comfort zone. This is a challenge…I should be able to do it my own way. Then I took it on and once I commit, I give my 100%. Even with KRISSH 3, a lot of people were like, are you sure you are doing the right thing? But for me it was very clear; I thought it was a great role and I always wanted to work with the legendary Rakesh Roshan. I really feel he is the Sachin Tendulkar of Bollywood. He has created record after record. He has dreamt of making a sci-fi film and making one of the level of an international film, which is incredible. For me, it was such an honour working with Rakesh Uncle. I learnt so much, I grew so much as an actor. He is an institution. Then another plus of working on KRRISH 3 was working with Hrithik. We have been friends since we were little boys. He is older than us and would know how to do cool stunts on the bike. He would teach us how to do wheelies on our BMX. And now suddenly working with him…it was a wonderful experience!”
Career-wise things indeed are looking better for Vivek Oberoi. After consecutive box office debacles, he is once again gaining momentum. He has seen both the highs and lows in his career spanning over 10 years… so what are the lessons that he has learnt so far from this industry?
Vivek does not even need a second to ponder as he says, “There is a mantra I have – ‘Bure waqt mein ghabrana nahin aur achche waqt mein paglana nahin.’ Balance is essential. You have to find your own balance. There will be trying times, when you will be tested and, at that time, being positive and fearless is essential. Again, being positive is a choice. You can choose to be happy, you can choose to be positive. Every time my film flops after my having worked so hard, after having all those hopes, I’ve been disappointed. Yes, I’ve been disheartened that the film did not do well, but again I told myself that it was okay, that I would work harder the next time. And if I fail again I will work even harder. That’s it. We all have that strength – we just choose not to see it. We have the Almighty within, the choice is ours whether we want to sit and keep feeling blue about it, or get up and try again.”
This article first appeared in December 2013 issue of Cine Blitz magazine