Actor Akshay Oberoi isn’t the most memorable actor of recent times, but his short roles in Piku and Fitoor are enough to jog the memory. Oberoi began his career with theatre, followed by two feature films – Isi Life Mein and Pizza. The films may have tanked but Oberoi’s performance found some takers. He will now be seen in the lead role in Shanker Raman’s upcoming debut, Gurgaon, a crime thriller, which releases on August 4. Excerpts:
Tell us about your role in Gurgaon.
Nikki Singh is a complex guy. He’s a neglected child of a wealthy landowner. In India, it’s common for fathers to pass on their business to the sons but Nikki doesn’t see that happening and decides to stand up for himself. This determines the course of the story.
What was the process of preparation like for the role of a Haryanvi-speaking protagonist?
Since I have lived mostly in Mumbai, I have been quite removed from Haryana and the sounds of their language. After returning from Kashmir, post the shooting of Fitoor, I called the diction coach, Prakash Bharadwaj, who is from Haryana. We spent two months watching Haryanvi movies and listening to Haryanvi music. When my friends called, I would say – Kya Kariya se?
You’ve done theatre, movies, TV and a webseries. Which medium has been the most satisfying?
I definitely enjoy working in feature films the most. I was attracted to the 70 mm screen as a kid and that is why I studied acting. I owe my understanding of the craft to theatre, but acting for films has its own high.
While some of your films didn’t find attention, your roles found praise.
I didn’t have a godfather and I realised that pretty early on. I took the best I was offered and decided to excel in that, otherwise I wouldn’t get my next project. I did not chase stardom and money and it was a struggle to get to this point. Initially, my films did not do well but people liked my work and I got the next offer.