As Vivek Oberoi takes on Hrithik Roshan this Diwali, the actor tells Anuj Kumar he doesn’t like to wear masks in real life

Many in the industry feel that Vivek Oberoi is a victim of fate. This week he is getting into the garb of Kaal himself, as he takes on Hrithik Roshan in Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish 3. “When Rakesh uncle told me that he had written this role keeping me in mind, I had to consider it and when I went for the narration Hrithik said this is the part that he wants to play but his father is not letting him do it,” says Vivek as we settle for an interview. “I always write the biography of the character I play and I did the same for Kaal. For a superhero film, this villain has emerged from the bed of logic,” asserts Vivek.

“Generally such films don’t give the villain the reason to be bad. Here there is one. I have given him an aristocratic feel as he is somebody who considers himself the prince of darkness.”

Calling him an evil genius who is out to avenge his humiliation from the humanity, Vivek says Kaal has a completely messed up emotional quotient and that is the reason of his unpredictability.

“As he doesn’t get the sunlight I thought of him to be a little pale and shared these ideas with the creative team. In fact before the shoot I went all dressed up as Kaal to Roshans’ home to do a boo. I hope the look – with thick eyebrows and prominent jaw line – creates an impact,” says Vivek, adding he is motivated by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s performances as bad guys.

There is lot of talk about his heavy costume and Vivek says the costume in question is the one that he has worn during the finale. “It was 28 kgs. I was told that it could not be lighter than that. In fact the look and special effects are going to be the speciality of the film and I am proud of the fact that all of them have been indigenously created.”

In fact he praises Roshan for blending world class special effects with a story which emanates from the bedrock of emotions which Indians identify with. Where else will you find a superhero singing and dancing,” he muses.

Image trap

“The talk of image trap” avers Vivek, “is dated.” “In fact it never existed. Why do you think Parle used Gabbar Singh to sell biscuits? As a kid Mogambo was my favourite villain and I hope after Krrish 3, kids will be seen using Kaal’s punch lines like Kaal ki kaynat mein welcome,” says Vivek, who is also a father now.

Fresh from his adult comedy Grand Masti, which has rekindled his box office record but it has been panned by the critics for its misogynistic humour. Vivek proffers the old argument that when 18 is a mature enough age to pick the government, why it is not considered good enough to choose a film. “It has made 100 crores and such business can’t come only from male audience. The critics should be a little less hypocritical about the taste.”

For long he carried the tag of the next big thing but never became one. The industry folklore is full of instances like how he opted Kisna over Hum Tum and how he was adamant on doing solo hero projects PrinceKismat Love Paisa Dilli. Vivek doesn’t deny the first charge but goes on to emphasise on the futility of the debate.

“Either you can drive looking into the front mirror or you can drive looking into the rear view mirror. I prefer to look ahead. Recently, I met a group of kids and they said uncle do you know which is our favourite film of yours and you will be surprised to know, as I was, that they were gushing over Naksha. KisnaWhen I started many people questioned my decision to start with Company. But when it clicked the same people questioned my decision to follow it up with a soft romantic film like Saathiya. So sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”

On his persistence for lead roles, Vivek says these are outdated ideas, and essentially Indian. “Have you ever heard of a solo hero Tom Cruise film? Some distributors might still carry them but I don’t want to work with them.”

Media appraisal

He admits that there was a time when media’s appraisals had started to affect him. “I happened to watch an interview of Amitabh Bachchan where how before Mohabbatein he was jobless and he went to Yash Chopra and asked him if he had a role for him. When it can happen to the biggest, how I can crib about fate.”

As for his controlled aggression in public these days, Vivek clarifies he still doesn’t wear masks in public. “I don’t play roles in real life. That way I am quite upfront. And I am pretty clear about what to share,” he signs off with a punch.

Clearing the smokescreen

Vivek, who is the anti-tobacco spokesperson of World Health Organisation, says arts, particularly cinema is a soft target of the government’s policy to curb tobacco use. “I can understand Woody Allen’s point of view. However, if the option is between doing nothing and showing these anti-tobacco messages in cinema halls then I am for it but frankly speaking the real change will come when the government will take on the menace head on. They should provide a time line for farmers who are producing tobacco to switch to other crops and such farmers should get help from the government. Similarly, the companies producing tobacco products should be given incentives to gradually move out of business. It won’t happen because unfortunately we have a very contrived political situation. What we are seeing is a very slow progress from direct advertising to surrogate advertising.”