Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Apoorva wanted me to be strong and think strong to act strong"- Vivek Oberoi

What happens when you stop a Bollywood star who is just about to board an international flight? He'd say 'Sorry, not now'. But if the man in the picture is Vivek Oberoi, what then? I'm sure he'd remind you of Maya in Shootout at Lokhandwala and you'd rather not mess with him. Here, the story took a bit of a turn. Nicknamed 'Tiger' and 'Rockstar' by his friends and colleagues, Vivek Oberoi is on a high these days because his director thinks Mission Istaanbul is his best work till date. Devansh Patel grabs the actor moments before he boards his flight to find out his comment on the quote, his bad and good guy image, his mission and lots more interesting answers to some hard hitting questions.

So, Maya is back after Shootout… to complete his Mission... What say Vivek?
(Laughs out loud) I like the way you put that. Very creatively done. Have you ever thought of dialogue writing? Actually, I am really excited. 'Maya' was a big bad boy who ended the Shootout. Here the good guy is going to complete his Mission. Rizwan Khan (Vivek's character in Mission Istaanbul) lost his own family, his wife, and his child to a bomb blast in Ankara. So, he takes an oath that he will try and protect as many innocent lives he can from the dreaded terrorists. That's his mission, he is the hero and the good guy. But having said that, his attitude is a real bad one and that's what I love about him.

I am really excited. 'Maya' was a big bad boy who ended the Shootout. Here the good guy is going to complete his Mission.
Gabbar Singh's famous dialogue 'Jo Darr Gaya, Samjho Mar Gaya' has been transformed by Apoorva Lakhia, which reads 'Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai'. So who's right?
Gabbar Singh was a legend and the dialogue is part of history. You don't mess with legends. But as far as 'Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai' is concerned, it rocks for us. Rizwan Khan (Vivek Oberoi) forgot to get introduced to fear. He is that kind of guy (laughs). There is a situation where Vikas Sagar (Zayed Khan's character), tells Rizwan Khan which is my character, "Wahan pe bees armed security guards hain yaar, andar kaise jaayenge?” to which Rizwan smiles casually and says, "Pahuncha doonga.” And the next moment, they both are in. He breaks through everything and lands up killing the bad guys in the terrorist network. He is in the cold zone where 40 people are staring at him from their work desks and are shocked to see how this guy came there. Rizwan then comes in and casually looks at all of them, loads his automatic weapon and questions, "Bahar jaaoge ya upar?"

Chiseled looks, bulging biceps and long hair is what we haven't seen much of from Mr. Oberoi. What went into creating such a look?
Rizwan Khan is such a cool guy that in terms of the clothing, styling and everything was an extension of his personality. When I read the character itself, it was so cool. I mean, he is the kind of guy who'll land up anywhere, anytime. That is precisely what Vikas Sagar tells him, "Rizwan Khan tum toh bhoot ho yaar, kahin se bhi aa jaate ho aur kahin se bhi nikal jaate ho." Anything that is impossible, he'll make it possible with a wink of an eye. One wanted someone who could physically also look like that. Rizwan Khan had to have this demeanor that we had never seen before. Dilshad who is my hair stylist, did my hair, and Falguni Thakore did the clothes and designed the entire look. On the other hand, Apoorva was working with both of them in tandem to create the entire image of Rizwan.

What went into your exercise regime? Did you have to build your six-pack and then shoot the film?
The first thing that Apoorva narrated to me was a scene where Vikas Sagar is running through the grand bazaar with six guys after him to kill him. And just as you think that he is going to get killed any minute, in the nick of time, a guy comes from nowhere, grabs him and pins him up against the wall and takes care of the six baddies in thirty two seconds single handedly. Rizwan is that strong. Apoorva wanted me to be strong and think strong to act strong. Therefore, there was little more that went into my training, even though we actors have to stay fit. Here I had to stay extra fitter.

Apoorva wanted me to be strong and think strong to act strong.
When I spoke to Apoorva last week, he said that he had Abhishek Bachchan in mind before he signed you for the role of Rizwan. Do you consider yourself lucky?
You know, it's been strange. I think many people don't know this but my first two films - Company and Saathiya both had Abhishek Bachchan in the lead. I got a break because Abhishek didn't do Company and then I got Saathiya for the same reason. Even in Apoorva's previous film Shootout at Lokhandwala, he had considered Abhishek to do a full fledged role but only managed a special appearance. So all this is rather quite interesting. People remember that Saif Ali Khan did Hum Tum after I said no. I couldn't do that film. I think it's destiny for all of us. Someone's loss is another's gain.

My first two films - Company and Saathiya both had Abhishek Bachchan in the lead. I got a break because Abhishek didn't do Company and then I got Saathiya for the same reason
We have seen you at your best in Company and Shootout. In between, you have a bit of Masti as well. But then again you are on a Mission. Should we change your name to Versatile Oberoi?
Thank you so much. It's a very nice compliment. It actually goes with my initials too (laughs). Many critics tell me that I should stick to roles like in the two films you mentioned. Critics will always be critics but the point to remember for me everyday is that I'm a greedy actor and I like to do every kind of role whether it's action or comedy. Recently, at the IIFA Awards in Bangkok, I had twenty pretty girls apprehend me. They grab hold of me and told me that we are going to threaten the action hero. The point they conveyed to me was that if I didn't do another love story for them, I'd be in big trouble. They said, "We supported you through Shootout, we are supporting you through Mission Istaanbul and are going to see it but it's time you do a love story.” So yeah, I am doing different stuff now. I am excited. I'm doing a big film in South Africa with Tips and that's a huge solo hero film for me. After that, I'm doing Karan Johar's film with Rensil De Silva directing and writing it which also stars Saif and Kareena in it. And there is this love story which I am doing and is being developed in the first quarter of next year. It's a very sweet, Saathiya kind of feel.

You will remember this interview as it's your last before you check in the immigration to go to South Africa. So who and where is the leading lady of the film?
Ahh! That's a big surprise.

This is your first film where you've performed some daring stunts all by yourself. Were you willing to take such a risk?
That's actually untrue. I've been performing stunts from my very first movie. Infact, I earned the nickname 'Tiger' because on my very first schedule in Kenya for the film Company, I was challenged to leap across from a six-storey building to a five-storey one. I went across the entire length of the road and landed on the other side. In Mission Istaanbul, too we are coming down from a 44-floor building. That was mad and insane but had to do it.

Does Mika's 'Apun Ke Saath' start from where 'Ganpat' ends?
Absolutely. It was always meant to be a follow up to 'Ganpat'. 'Ganpat' was such a rage and such a big sensation that we wanted to take it to the next level and promote Mission Istaanbul. 'Apun Ke Saath' shows the attitude of Rizwan Khan.

I have to be a bit biased here Vivek. But what do you have to say about the young Gujarati boy Chirantan Bhatt who is just 21 years old and has given chartbuster hits like 'Mission Mission' and 'Nobody Like You'?
Oh, my God dude, I didn't even know that Chiru's name is Chirantan Bhatt. We call him Chiru. But I'm really happy for Chiru and Hamza who have worked with him in both these songs. They have done a great job and very happy with not only the two songs you've mentioned but the entire album. I think, by far my favourite is 'Apun Ke Saath'. The kind of dynamics, lyrics and cool quality that Mika has come up with after 'Ganpat' and the kind of response it got at the IIFA Bangkok is truly unbelievable. Everywhere I go now people associate me with this song.

The kind of dynamics, lyrics and cool quality that Mika has come up with after 'Ganpat' is truly unbelievable.
One of the most clichéd questions for you Vivek. How was the experience of working with Zayed Khan?
It was great man! All these guys were cool. They were fun to work with and we worked pretty hard, partied pretty hard too. All in all a great experience.

That's a short answer.
Well, that doesn't make it clichéd, does it? (Laughs)

Mission Istaanbul is a film, which will have its own target audience. Do you think the film will work in the overseas?
One never thought that Shootout would do very well in the overseas audience. But it did. In the Middle East, it did terrific business. The audiences mindsets are changing. They are accepting change. There are liking different kind of cinema. So we're hoping. Overseas has a big audience and are important for the success of our films. If Mission works in the overseas, we all will be very happy.

Any plans of having a premiere in Istaanbul.
Yeah. Apoorva always wanted that. I don't know how much of that is going to be possible. At the end of the day, one wants to have a big premiere in Mumbai and then fly off to Istanbul the very next moment. It's not as easy as it looks. If it happens, it will be exciting and awesome. But that really isn't my call. It's between Apoorva, Suniel Shetty and Balaji.

Besides filming, what were you up to in Istanbul?
We had a blast man. I mean, I am a complete party animal. When I get days off, I love to club all the way through the morning. One of the other nicknames that I've earned from college days is 'Rockstar'. That's not because I'm musically inclined in anyway. I can't play any musical instruments. If I party, I've got a golden rule. I don't come back before seeing the morning sun. You party all night, see the sun, and then go home.

If I party, I've got a golden rule. I don't come back before seeing the morning sun.
Aren't we going to see any romantic side of you in Mission Istaanbul?
No man, not this time. You'll just have to wait a year more.

I know you have to check in now. But before I say Bon Voyage, one last question. Your director says that Mission Istaanbul is going to be your best performance till date. What are the odds?
I am really excited about that statement. It's a really big statement to make. But I don't know. I've given my best, worked an entire year, I've not done anything else and focused only on Mission Istaanbul. I hope what Apoorva says is true. He keeps telling me that. I haven't even seen the film yet but I have faith and belief in Apoorva.

Any message for your fans before you board your flight to South Africa.
A big Thank You straight from my heart. When I was not doing well in films, the one thing that kept me going was the belief in my fans and the support, which they have shown for me. Every little 'I love you Vivek' which comes out from them makes you feel so special. My fans aren't just statistics for me, they are the reason for who I am today and where I am.

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