|HOME | MOVIES | BILLBOARD|
January 3, 2002
Subhash K Jha
I spoke to Ram Gopal Varma's latest discovery Vivek Oberoi when he was shooting for his debut film, Company in Hong Kong.
Vivek seems to have the right attitude for success.
When I tell him about the glowing compliments his mentor has paid him, the young actor laughs nervously. "I hope I can live up to all those expectations."
It certainly looks like it.
His debut film is months away from release. And Vivek Oberoi is the most talked about newcomer in the history of Indian cinema.
Reportedly, he has been offered as much as Rupees 15 million -- an unheard sum for a newcomer -- especially since his screen presence has been tried and tested by only one director, Ram Gopal Varma in the forthcoming underworld epic Company.
Speaking in his first ever-formal interview, Vivek is puzzled and pleased at being a superstar already. "It just happened, I guess. I haven’t done anything to get all this attention. All I did was make the best of the opportunity that I got in Company."
Even Hrithik Roshan had to wait until the release of his debut film Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai to be declared a superstar.
Even while Varma’s Company was in the making, Vivek was flooded with plum offers. So far he has chosen only four.
Filmmaker Muzaffar Ali’s son Shaad Ali (who assisted Mani Rathnam) is re-making Rathnam’s celebrated Tamil romance Alai Payuthe in Hindi as Saathiya with Vivek and Rani Mukherjee in the lead. Another Ram Gopal Varma production Road, directed by Rajat Mukherjee and E Niwas’s Dum are also in line. Thereafter, Vivek goes into Vinod Chopra’s next venture.
All these assignments are going to keep the young and eagerly awaited star-in-the-making very busy.
"Thanks to the wonderful support system provided by my father, I was never insecure about my future. I took my time to make myself into a complete product," says the son of the baritone-voiced character-actor Suresh Oberoi. The junior Oberoi spent six years as professional dubbing artiste, before attending acting classes in New York.
Earlier, Vivek Oberoi had approached Ram Gopal Varma for a role in Jungle. Varma offered Oberoi the second lead. The young actor declined the offer, waited a year and then approached the director-producer again. This time, there was the lead role of a gangster in Company.
But will the well brought-up city-slick young actor look convincing in the part?
Recalls Oberoi, "One day Ramuji dropped in and saw my audition tape. He signed me up immediately. But he found my face too soft for a gangster."
Vivek took it on himself to prove to he can scrub away his city slickness to look like a rough and tough gangster. Within ten days, he transformed himself into an ill-dressed, unkempt gangster from the chawls, so much so that Varma didn't recognise the actor when he dropped into the director’s office for the part.
Now Vivek Oberoi wants to put in the same amount of preparation in all his roles if the role demands it.
Like Hrithik's father Rakesh Roshan, Vivek’s father Suresh Oberoi did not get his due as an actor. But Vivek disagrees, "When he came to Mumbai, he had only Rs 400 in his pocket and a dream. Today he has more than 200 films behind him. I don't know whether having him as a father is an advantage. But I'm working hard to establish my own identity."
Will Vivek be the next superstar of Hindi cinema after Hrithik Roshan? "I'm very secure in my life. I concentrate on acting while my Dad handles the business side of my career. All my needs are taken care of. I love my work and I love the people I'm working with," he says.
Vivek is an avid reader. "Surprisingly I find more time to read now in-between my shots than I ever did earlier."
Besides reading, Vivek enjoys watching films and being with his close friends, family and his girlfriend. "Luckily for me they're all interested in the same thing -- my career," he grins.
ASTROLOGY | CONTESTS | E-CARDS | NEWSLINKS | ROMANCE | WOMEN
SHOPPING | BOOKS | MUSIC | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL| MESSENGER | FEEDBACK