Vivek Oberoi said rejections in Bollywood can feel very personal sometimes. As he revisited his journey in the film industry, he recalled how an ace filmmaker told him that he will never be able to make it big in the industry.
“He kept looking at me and he said, ‘You can never make it.’ He then opened a drawer, pulled out a picture of a model, who was making his debut that year, placed his picture on the table and said, ‘Look at him. This is a star.’ Ironically, nothing happened to his career. But I remember that audition so clearly because it was so harsh. It was very personal. But yes, that made me stronger,” Vivek told indianexpress.com.
Vivek made his debut with Ram Gopal Varma’s Company. But before that, his father Suresh Oberoi had big plans to launch the actor with a Abbas-Mustan directorial.
“My father didn’t come with a sifaarish ki chitthi. He came to this incredibly difficult industry with his own merit. So, when my father offered me to star in this film, I kept feeling wrong about it. So, I took this critical decision and told him that I cannot do this,” he said, adding, “He looked at me with the concerned eyes of a father but there was a sense of pride too.”
“When Company happened, it happened on my own merit, which felt like a victory. When I won the Best Debut and Best Supporting award in several shows, I saw tears of joy and pride in my father’s eyes. He knew what I went through in that year and a half of soul crashing experiences. I walked on fire but it all came to fruition,” he continued.
Vivek went onto play Chandu in Company. But the 2002 directorial wasn’t the first time when he met Ram Gopal Varma.
“RGV for me was and still is a legend,” Vivek heaped praise on the director. “My first meeting with him was in the basement of UTV where I used to be the struggling voice artist. I used to dub English movies and TV shows in Hindi and vice-versa. So, when Satya was being dubbed in English and I was chosen for it. That was the first time I met RGV,” Vivek remembered.
“He complimented my voice and my work. I wanted to tell him so many things but couldn’t. Years later, when I got to know he was doing Company, I somehow met him and got my first unintentional break,” he continued, adding, “When I got the part, I remember my first scene was with Ajay Devgn. He was such a big star. I was a huge fan of him.”
When asked about Ram Gopal Varma, Vivek said on the sets of Company, he was always like this “man on a mission.”
Recalling his first interaction with RGV, he said, “I remember being unsure because he was giving instructions to a lot of people around him but he wasn’t telling me anything. I was like, ‘Why he is not giving me a feedback? What am I doing wrong?” By the time it was lunch break, I was petrified and demoralised. I was like, ‘What if he throws me out? Mera career shuru hone se pehle hi khatam na hojaye kahin.’ I couldn’t eat. I was standing there and almost like it happens in the movies, a hand landed on my shoulder. When I turned around, it was RGV. He looked into my eyes and said, ‘If I don’t like what you are doing, I will tell you. If I don’t tell you anything it means I like what you are doing.’ I was in so much joy after that moment because he is the man who made incredible films like Satya, Rangeela and Shiva.”
“Now, go eat something,” Vivek recalled RGV’s parting sentence and broke into a laughter. “I still remember all that clearly.”
When asked if his two-decade long journey in Bollywood was easy, Vivek replied, “No journey is easy. You have to keep proving yourself. Life is like the game of snakes and ladders. Sometimes you work your way up, and sometimes, you are bit by the snake and fall down.”
On the parting note, Vivek described his debut film Company as that one film that gives him a “sense of immortality.”
“Every actor somewhere wants to get immortal through celluloid. That is a dream for every actor. Company gives me the sense of immortality. It was an absolute privilege to be a part of it,” he said hoping that his fetish for acting “never gets fulfilled.”