Actor Vivek Oberoi has completed 15 years in the Hindi film industry, majority of which has been an after-effect of his showdown with superstar Salman Khan. In 2003, just a year into Bollywood, Vivek held a press conference alleging that Salman had threatened him over his closeness with Aishwarya Rai, whom he was apparently seeing then. Aishwarya and Salman were former partners. This marked a huge controversy in Vivek’s professional life and his carer that looked extremely promising until then took a severe beating.
Except for rarities like Omkara and Shootout at Lokhandwala, which justify Vivek’s prominence on screen, Vivek’s career is full of ‘misses’ and ‘what if’s’. The actor, however, has no complaints for he believes he has enough reason to feel fulfilled and successful. While many have been of the opinion that opening up about the alleged harassment at the hands of Salman was his biggest mistake, Vivek, now, choses to look at the incident in a detached way.
“It depends on the perspective. if you believe I am nothing then you will say it was all for nothing but do I believe I am nothing? Do I believe in my body of work? Do I believe that I have lasted long? Do I believe I am successful or not? Have I been in the industry for 15 years and with God’s grace, every month I am saying no to scripts? So, you have to define what is success to you. Is being successful means someone who has made a lot of money or someone who is doing what he or she loves every day they wake up. Is being successful means someone who is living a balanced life and has a bit of everything.”
He added, “I believe every day I wake up feeling successful, happy and grateful to the life I have. For all those who have been to my place, I have multiple shelves filled with awards, a body of work which in its own way is memorable. I am still around and still getting work. I don’t know if I will revisit (my past) and say, ‘Oh! 15 years ago, this happened and that happened.’ That’s life. The way I look at it in short is that the day I write an autobiography, it will be an interesting one.”
The group interaction with the actor then had a reporter ask him that will the autobiography be a tell-all. To that, Vivek responded. “I am too far from that. Maybe I am too private a person to share personal stories with young people. I deliver speeches, I interact with students and they have a different perspective on things, unlike the media. So, those are the kind of forums I like going to and talk at. But to expect a tell-all with masala, gossip… At 40, I think I have evolved beyond that. There’s so much to life than that…”
Vivek is gearing up for Bank Chor, which is his second film with YRF after the superhit Saathiya (2002) that earned the actor the tag of a romantic hero. The film was an official remake of Mani Ratnam’s Tamil romance Alaipayuthey. The endearing romance between Vivek’s Aditya Sehgal and Rani Mukerji’s Suhani Sharma was an instant hit, and ensured Vivek and Rani became one of the best on-screen duos.
When asked which actors from today’s generation can play Aditya and Suhani if a Saathiya remake is ever made, Vivek, after a pause, said, “If I was casting it today, I think Ranbir (Kapoor)… He is fantastic playing real characters. For Rani’s part, it is difficult to choose a name because it’s not easy to match up to her. She was too good. I think, Alia (Bhatt) will be a good choice. It would be interesting to see it being played between these two.”