'I wasn't sure of Vivegam initially'
...says Vivek Oberoi as he talks about his Tamil debut Vivegam, Ajith and his web series Inside Edge
Vivek Oberoi, who has been in the industry for over 15 years, typically does only about one film a year. The actor who is making his Tamil debut with Ajith-starrer Vivegam, says something actors usually don't. "Films aren't my priority; family comes first for me. My four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter think I'm a superhero. I like to spend as much time with them as I can," he says. "I also run businesses that keep me occupied.”
He takes his time to zero in on projects, but with Vivegam, just fifteen minutes of narration did it. "I wasn't too sure in the beginning, because I knew I would have to learn Tamil,” he says. “Vivegam isn’t the first South Indian film I've been offered. I've turned down many offers in the past. When Siva approached me, I was moved by the passion with which he narrated. Vivegam will be on par with a Hollywood spy thriller.” While he can’t talk too much about his character, he says he plays an "intelligent spy who thinks faster than a computer.”
Vivek was also touched by the humility of Ajith. "On the first day of the shoot, he came up to me and thanked me for being a part of the project. He called me 'sir' and I didn't know how to react. It was all real; he wasn’t faking it,” he says. Vivek recalls another incident. "Ajith anna made tea and served it to everybody on the sets, including my staff. Someone of his stature need not do that but he's unpredictable."
Interestingly, the film was titled Vivegam only after Vivek Oberoi came on board. "I know it's funny, but that's the truth. Until then the team was shooting with the working title Thala 57,” he says. “Of course, I know the meaning of the title, given my name. It means wisdom and conscience, and this is reflected beautifully in the story."
Vivek thinks Siva is a very sensible director. "I've never seen him yell at his assistants or actors. He's composed all the time. One of his assistants ruined a scene, and I expected to see him be rude. He, however, apologised to me, and we reshot the sequence."
Most of my relatives are here, and I love the city for what it is. I love dosas and Saravana Bhavan sambar.
I'd like to act with Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth.
The Bollywood actor is also all praise for Kajal Aggarwal and Akshara Haasan. "Kajal and I have acted together in Kyun! Ho Gaya Na... but that was in 2004. I knew she would go on to be successful even then. I have been proven right. I am so proud of her, and happy that she’s doing so well," he says. On Akshara, he says, "She has this strong will of doing things on her own, despite having a celebrity actor for a father."
Vivek also recently made his debut in the digital space via the web series Inside Edge, which is streaming on Amazon. "I want to keep pushing the envelope as an artiste. I am both a method actor and a spontaneous one. I do homework, but the moment I step on the sets, I forget everything,” he says. “I don’t understand the concept of sitting back and taking things easy. This day will not come back, so if I do nothing today, the day is wasted. That’s unacceptable for me."