|Vivek Oberoi with Mallika Sherawat in Kismet Love Paisa Dilli
To say that the last 12 months have been good for Vivek Oberoi wouldn’t be wrong. He has nine films in hand and a baby on the way. “It’s been quite a year. I am in a phenomenal place both personally and professionally,” says the actor who turned 36 on September 3. But Vivek wasn’t as upbeat just two years ago when his last film, the two-part Rakta Charitra, released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. The Hindi versions sank without a trace while the other two did average business. “I had invested so much in Rakta Charitra. I spent a year with that film. When it didn’t work, I was disheartened as well as angry. It was a good film that wasn’t marketed well,” he says.
Vivek will be back on the big screen with Kismet Love Paisa Dilli (KLPD) next Friday. A comic thriller set in Delhi, Vivek has a lot riding on the film. When t2 met the actor at his Juhu home in Mumbai, he was in between promotional rounds to malls. Excerpts from the chat...
You disappeared from the scene in 2010 after your wedding and the release of Rakta Charitra.
Rakta Charitra just took everything out of me. I just stopped working. I was tired, disheartened and, on some level, bored. I needed to get away from everything and get a fresh perspective. I realised that the reason I had stopped enjoying my work was because I was working without thinking objectively.
What did you do in that one year?
I raked up air miles (laughs). I was newly married, so I decided that I needed to spend some time with my wife and get to know her. Priyanka and I went on 12 short honeymoons through that year. We travelled everywhere from Bali and Monte Carlo to Ranthambore and Sri Lanka, and even went on a sailing holiday on the southern coast of Turkey. It was incredible!
When you were ready to sign films again, were there fresh parameters that you were working within?
I realised that I needed to push myself as an actor. I decided that I wanted to do fun films that allow me to experiment. Also, I wanted to try films that weren’t as intense as some of my previous work. In KLPD, I play a horny Delhi boy. There is Krrish 3 where I play a mad super villain, while in Jayanta Bhai Ki Luv Story, my character is a bhai who is in love. He doesn’t know how to deal with women or love. He is a very endearing character. I just want to have fun with my work.
Why do you say that “the kind of stuff that I have done in KLPD is unimaginable?”
(Laughs) Let me give you an example. There is a ‘rape scene’ in the film where I am tied up, with a ball in mouth and there are men and women around me who want to ‘have their way with me’. I am not a homophobe; I have quite a few gay friends but it was an extremely uncomfortable situation to be in. There was a guy on top of me and kissing my chest... it was strange. There is another scene where I had to urinate publicly into wine glasses. He has this boyish charm even as he does these quirky, mad things and finds himself in the craziest of situations.
What was it like working with Mallika Sherawat for the first time?
I had heard so many stories about her. But I have to admit that she has kind of disappointed me. She is not the firecracker, the diva I had heard about. She is very professional and quite a chilled-out chick. She hung out quite a bit with my wife. They would both gang up against me and pull my leg (laughs). Yeah, but I am still looking for that diva everyone talks about.
Last year, you stepped into production with Dekh Indian Circus that’s created quite a bit of buzz on the festival circuit. Are you interested in pursuing that further?
Actually, I have stepped out of the production scenario for now. Dekh Indian Circus is a brilliant film and it’s been doing very well at the festivals. Unfortunately, I have had no time to travel with the film and promote it. I am very happy that Imtiaz Ali has come on board and he is presenting it. If I ever look at production again, then I will have to take a break from acting. You can’t have nine films as an actor and also produce a film. It’s just not humanly possible.
Staying away from Priyanka and your parents must have been tough while you were shooting all your films?
I have been trying to not compromise on family time. I fly back even if I have one day off. If I am in Mumbai, I rush home as soon as I can. As soon as the director yells ‘pack up’ I am in the car, driving back (laughs). I don’t even bother to take off my make-up or change out of my costume. My sister Meghna is also pregnant, so she’s at home often as well. It’s just great to chill on our terrace, chatting and listening to jazz or old songs.
Are you excited about fatherhood?
What do you think? (Laughs) I am so excited! I think I started thinking like a parent from the moment she told me. Something’s changed within me. I think I am ready to be a father (laughs). I have to tell you about when I got to know. It’s the craziest story. We were both in Singapore and Priyanka was coming back to Mumbai while I was headed to Jaipur to shoot for Sher. She was supposed to join me in Jaipur after a couple of days. I remember telling her at the airport that I had a feeling that she won’t be able to make it. And, that she’ll call and tell me that she is pregnant. Both of us laughed and that was the end of that conversation. Exactly three days after, she called and told me. I was so upset that I couldn’t be there with her for the first visit to the doc and ultrasound. Soham (the director of Sher) called and said that I have the next two days. I took the night flight because I didn’t want to be away from Priyanka for a second more than necessary.
Has Priyanka had any strange cravings or requests?
Oh yes! Just the other day, I was walking around Nature’s Basket in Juhu like a headless chicken and I bumped into Dia (Mirza) and Sahil (Sangha) and they were laughing at me because I had the strangest assortment of cheeses, jams and chocolates in the trolley. Priyanka has her mithai stashed away and chocolates and cakes in another corner. She loves those sponge cakes right now. Mum cooks South Indian food for her when she wants that. So, between mum, dad and me, we are thoroughly spoiling her (laughs).