“Fake it till you make it”
By Ankita R Kanabar
(This interview was published in the February 16, 2013 issue of Super Cinema)
Every debutant would probably wish for a debut film like his. He was a star, over-night, but since then, it’s not really been a smooth ride for him. Most would agree. But he’s ever-so-positive, and smiling. That is, Vivek Oberoi for you! Now can any of us deny that ‘Company’ was the best launch pad for this blue-eyed boy? Vivek’s journey has obviously not been easy. He saw a rough patch, but now is on the other side of it, looking extremely strong and confident. In fact, this seems to be his best phase, since the man has more than one reason to be happy! He has five releases this year. And, he’s just turned father to a baby boy. As I speak to him, his animated voice reflects the happiness that he is experiencing. You just know that the man is content with all that he’s got, and is raring to go, to achieve much more! His film ‘Jayantabhai Ki Luv Story’ has just released, and a few days prior to the release, we chatted with him. He gets talking about the film, at length. Also, his upcoming projects, fatherhood and more…
So, how has it been, doing a film like ‘Jayantabhai Ki Luv Story’?
It’s been awesome! This film has been such an amazing experience and so much fun. Just the whole cast and crew that came together for this. It’s been a complete joy ride. Plus it’s a very cute, very sweet film. I was shooting in Hyderabad for ‘Krrish 3’ and Kumar Taurani ji called me up and told me that ‘you need to hear this script, and this role is totally for you’. And when Kumarji tells me something, I take it very seriously. When I heard the script, I was completely into it just within the first few minutes, and I wanted to do the film. I thought the role was so exciting! A ‘bhai’ who people fear, who hits ten guys, and then he’s this lover boy. I’ve played a gangster in films like ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’ and ‘Company’ and then the romantic hero in ‘Saathiya’. This film is an interesting mix of the two.
Your chemistry with Neha Sharma is being well-appreciated in the promos…
Our chemistry in the film is amazing! I adore her. She’s so sincere, so beautiful, so professional and hard working. I’ve had a great time working with Neha.
How was it working with a first-time director like Vinnil Markan?
Vinnil is a friend of mine since he’s been an associate director for ‘Prince’. I think he’s a fantastic director, who’s been able to make such a sweet, naïve, honest film.
Are there any similarities between Vivek Oberoi and Jayanta Bhai?
What I liked about Jayanta is that he’s a very positive character. Be it success or failure, he’s always smiling and he never loses his positivity. And somewhere that’s how even I am. I’m extremely positive, and always smiling.
You’ve played a gangster earlier. So this film might have not required much of homework…did it?
When you’re doing a film, you try and stay in touch with a network of people, to get into the character. Like when I did ‘Company’, I spoke to people who probably had the knowledge of how a gangster would talk and walk. Here, just before we started shooting for ‘Jayantabhai…’, Vinnil, some of my other friends and I, we sat together to think of new ideas, new words. We came up with different words that I’ve never heard before. So, that was quite interesting! One prepares like that and then your look helps in getting into the zone of the character. For instance Jaya Taurani who was the stylist for the film had a clear picture about every character – that he is a rastachaap mawaali, so when you’re looking like that character, you tend to even behave like that character.
Over the years, as an actor, what has been your approach towards a character like?
While I was in New York, they taught us this very interesting thing that you need to psyche yourself, which means you think from a character’s perspective. I tend to do that a lot. I slowly start getting into the zone of the character before I go on the set. That switch off-switch on mode looks extremely fake and unreal. And there’s this phrase that I learnt: “Fake it till you make it”. I think I do go by that. When I have to do a scene where I have to be extremely emotional and cry, I get into that zone. I don’t really talk to people, I stay quiet at most times. And when there’s this high-energy scene that I have to perform, I just chit chat with everyone, try and laugh.
Usually, what makes you give your nod to a script?
I think I’m extremely impulsive when it comes to taking a decision. So, if I hear a script, and like it, I immediately jump on it. And then sometimes I just say no. My impulsiveness has benefitted me at times, and sometimes also cost me quite a bit.
You certainly have an interesting line-up of films this year…
This year is fabulous! I’m extremely happy with the kind of films that I’m doing. So, now there’s ‘Jayantabhai…’ which is such a sweet love story and then ‘Zilla Ghaziabad’ which is completely different. Then there’s ‘Grand Masti’ which is the sequel to the superhit ‘Masti’. It’s so much fun to come together for this film again. And of course, later, there’s ‘Krrish 3’ where I play this super villain, and a role that’s extremely dark!
So how do you manage to essay a dark character, that of a super-villain which is a far cry from your real self?
I’m so fortunate that I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with, and be directed by someone like Rakesh Roshan. I’m glad to be working with a legend like him. And Guddu uncle has guided me so much through this film. There’s so much that I’ve learned on this film. And it’s obvious that you learn a lot as an actor by working with directors like him.
What genre comes easy to you, and which one do you find the most difficult?
I think there is challenge in every genre and anything that you do. For instance, in ‘Jayantabhai…’, to play this extremely tough guy, who also has a sense of humour and has a heart of gold, was a challenge for me. Because there are two completely different sides to him.
Professionally, things seem good for you. Personally, everything seems awesome for you with the new addition to your family…
You’ve no idea how happy I am and what an amazing feeling this is! The happiness of just holding my little prince is out of this world! It’s truly wonderful!
And you’re away from them, busy with work. That would be quite difficult!
I’m just missing my baby and my wife so much. But thank God for skype, I see them both every day. Even while promoting the film, I’ve tried every little possibility to go to Bangalore where my wife and baby are. Despite all the work, I’m trying my best to just be with him and my wife, see my baby, spend time with him, change his diapers, just hold him in my arms. It’s just the most amazing feeling! I’ve decided to go on a break once ‘Zilla Ghaziabad’ releases. But before that I want to concentrate well on promoting ‘Jayantabhai..’ and ‘Zilla Ghaziabad’, before I take some time off. And everything’s just going so good at the moment that I’m hoping ‘kisi ki nazar na lage’.
So, what next post ‘Jayantabhai…’ and ‘Zilla Ghaziabad’?
At the moment, I’m dubbing for ‘Krrish 3’, so that should be done soon. And last 20 days of shooting ‘Grand Masti’ remains, but that shall happen only after March now. So, hopefully, I’ll get some time off, to be with my family (smiles).