Akshay Oberoi: It is never about the scale of your role but who you work with

Akshay Oberoi shares his experience working on Fighter, his equation with director Siddharth Anand, and idolising his co-star Hrithik Roshan since the age of 15
Akshay Oberoi: It is never about the scale of your role but who you work with

Actor Akshay Oberoi forays into the big leagues with his upcoming film, Fighter. Talking about his experience of working in a big-budget mainstream film for the first time, Akshay hopes that the limelight brought upon by Fighter also shines on his lesser-known works and helps him reach a wider audience. 

Directed by Siddharth Anand, Fighter is an aerial action-thriller, starring Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, Anil Kapoor, and Karan Singh Grover. Akshay plays the role of Squadron Leader Basheer "Bash" Khan in the film. On how he trained for his role, Akshay talks about his interactions with experienced Air Force pilots. “We asked them how they talk and what the different badges on the uniform mean,” he says. “We also had to constantly work out for the film to maintain our physique as the Air Force suit is tight enough to catch all the little curves in your body.”

The actor has been in the industry for over 10 years now, ever since his debut in the 2010 film, Isi Life Mein. After that, he played the lead role in Pizza (2014), a remake of Kartik Subbaraj’s Tamil film of the same name. In Gurgaon (2016), he played an unruly son, with Pankaj Tripathi playing his father. Akshay feels that his career has been slow and steady, something that has worked in his favour. “I have been laying one brick at a time to build a career,” he says. “There is truth in putting your head down and just focusing on the craft. That’s all I have been doing. I have been lucky that someone like Siddharth Anand takes notice of that.” Akshay has worked with the Pathaan (2023) director before. In 2020, the actor played the antagonist in the thriller series Flesh, which was produced by Siddharth. “Sid knows my strengths as an actor. In Flesh, he chose me to do an antagonist, whereas I play a totally different character in Fighter,” he says.

For Akshay, being a part of Fighter was even more special as he got to share the screen with Hrithik Roshan, whom he calls an inspiration. “Hrithik is somebody who I have idolised since I was 15,” he says. “I started working out and dancing because of him. And now I got to work alongside him in a film. It was really something.” Even when it came to doing scenes with the actor, Akshay felt a certain level of comfort. He says, “We found that groove very quickly. I would give him more credit as he is a huge star and yet he allows himself to be vulnerable which makes it easier to act with him.”

Akshay has also done minor roles in a number of films like Piku (2015), Fitoor (2016) and Thar (2022). On the transition from doing minor roles to now starring in a big-budget film, the actor says, “I have done a lot of small roles in big films, and some big roles in small films. I view all my performances the same way. Every performance has to be real for it to work. The core doesn’t change and after that, you can layer it as much as you want.”

Even in these smaller roles, he says, the motive was not to stand out and get noticed but to just serve the story. “It is never about the film or its scale but who you want to work with,” he says. “Like in Fitoor, I have a small part but I get to be directed by Abhishek Kapoor. In Thar, the drive was to act opposite Anil Kapoor. In Piku, it was Shoojit Sircar and Deepika Padukone. So, none of it came from calculations of trying to become a star one day but rather with the thought of becoming the best possible actor.”

In the future, Akshay says he would love to be a part of a biopic or a historical drama set in a different time and space. He doesn’t know what kind of an actor he is but wants to challenge himself by doing different roles. “I love acting and I am happy to do it every day of my life,” he says.

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