Vivek Oberoi is literally living his second lease of life in Bollywood. After the initial promise, his career faced a lull before being on an upswing once again. It all began with the critical acclaim he received for his performance in Kurbaan. He is now sitting pretty with a solo vehicle Prince and Ram Gopal Varma′s ambitious Rakht Charitra. Promos of Prince are already on air and being received well, while Vivek is going all out to promote his film. “I am glad people are responding well to the promos,” he says. “It′s an important film for me. I understand the importance of having a solo lead in a film today and I have given it my best. I am so grateful that my director and producers trusted me with a role like this,” he gushes. “And an actor′s job doesn′t end with the shooting of the film, I will do anything needed of me in the best interest of the film,” he adds.
One of the reasons Vivek sounds immensely grateful to his makers is because not long ago he was industry′s fall guy and filmmakers were shying away from taking him on. But things have changed recently. “That′s thanks to guys like Karan Johar who offered me ‘Kurbaan’,” he says candidly. “My confidence was quite shaky at that point, everything I did seemed to be coming out wrong. I didn′t know if I could do a film like ‘Kurbaan’. At that point for Karan to show that confidence in me must have given a lot of confidence to other makers as well, about me. After all Karan is one of the biggest names in the industry and if he was doing something, it obviously meant something. I am also happy that Tauranis have stood by me with a film like ‘Prince’ and these are the people I will always be indebted to,” he says.
Vivek′s Bollywood journey began in Ram Gopal Varma′s Company and though they went their separate ways along the Road they are not back working together. It must seem like life has come full circle for Vivek. “I have always held Ramu in the highest regards,” says Vivek. “I am sure he was quite upset with me at one point in time and understandably so,” Vivek talks about the fallout with his mentor maker. “He had seen me when I was a nobody and was raring to go. But after the initial success it was difficult to recognize me, the person I had become,” he opens up. “So it′s natural that Ramuji was disappointed in me, to be honest today I am disappointed in myself. I don′t know how I let myself become that person,” he ponders and continues. “But Ramu is a large hearted person and also beyond personal issues when it comes to movies. He realized that I was serious about my career once again and wanted to do better this time. So when he had a role for me in ‘Rakht Charitra’ he offered me the role. And what a role to come back into the fold with Ramuji,” Vivek says. “It′s once in a lifetime role for me. And it′s my first biographical as well, which needs a lot of homework and research. But for some reason while playing this character it all came naturally to me. I was thrilled and I hope I make Ramuji happy with his choice for the film,” he says.
What does Vivek think went wrong with his career that he turned from being the next best thing to the fall guy of the industry? He doesn′t flinch for a moment before he answers, “I don′t know how everyone else does this, but success is difficult to handle when you are young. I was reckless, irresponsible and heady with success. Add to it I was in a high profile public relationship and it all got a bit too much and I got lost. My close friends and family were the only ones who were with me during those days,” Vivek says emotionally. “I think I deserved a lot of the flak I got. I only regret putting my family through it. It was really hard for them to go through it all, seeing their son being taken off on, time and again. They were trying to be protective of me, but I had to go through that process to understand and value my place here better,” he admits.
“I am making amends in a way for my past mistakes,” he continues. “And I hope people will see things have changed for me and I am serious about my future here,” he hopes. Things may have changed for Vivek on professional front but on personal front he is still the single, footloose actor, playing the field. He blushes as he says, “Hardly. I am not a flirt and I don′t play the field,” he says. “I can′t even think like that. I respect women a lot and value their company. Women are precious and should be treated that way. I am looking for the one, the long lasting relationship of my life. And this time if I fall in love I want it to be the one that will last forever. I am not cynical about love anymore as I once was, but I am cautious. And that′s because I want it to last. Yes I am in the company of women and there′s nothing wrong with that. But I am not being a flirt or leading a girl on,” he adds. And what if the girl he falls for doesn′t find approval with his parents? “You know my parents have always been supportive of me and my choices,” he says. “If I sit and talk to them I am sure we can reason with each other and make our points of view known. I know parents always have their children′s best interest at heart, while kids can do things just to be rebellious and lose focus. So if my parents have something to say I will definitely pay heed to it because they only mean well. And yes I will explain my choice to them. Between us we will come to a logical and reasonable conclusion,” he says.
And there you have it, logic and reason, two new trademarks of the new and improved Vivek Oberoi.