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Vivek Oberoi's secret to happiness

Last updated on: August 24, 2010 19:12 IST

Vivek Oberoi's secret to happiness

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Nithya Ramani in Mumbai

Vivek Oberoi, who is gearing up for his next release, Rakht Charitra, says he is a changed man -- positive, at peace and happy. 

Oberoi made his debut in the 2002 Ram Gopal Varma film, Company and with Rakht Charitra teamed up with his mentor after eight years.

The film is based on the true story of slain political leader Paritala Ravi (played by Vivek) and Maddela Cheruvu Suri (played by Suriya). Also in the film are Priyamani and Abhimanyu Singh of Gulaal fame.

The actor, who is set to marry Priyanka, daughter of senior Janata Dal (U) leader, Dr Jeevaraj Alva in October, tells Nithya Ramani what to expect from the movie and more. Excerpts:

How was it to work with Ram Gopal Varma after eight years?

Mixed emotions, I guess. I was working with my mentor after eight years; I began my career with him. It was a bittersweet experience and on the first day of the shoot, I felt like I was coming to work for the first time. The bond we shared as an actor and director was amazing.

He told me about the character Paritala Ravi and I could barely believe he was real. I began researching him and a whole new world began to unravel.

I felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to essay the role.

People ask me about my dream role, but I think there is no dream role until you stumble upon something like this. Here was a man who was crude and violent, yet educated and had a sharp mind. He was someone who could take on anything that life threw at him

This is by far the most complex and layered role I have ever attempted. I couldn't sleep the night before shooting began. I was so charged up, I felt I had drunk 50 cups of coffee. I felt calmer only after I gave the shot and Ramuji said it was good.


Image: A scene from Rakht Charitra

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'I had to grow a moustache, but maintaining it was such a hassle'

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What was your most intense scene?

It was a monologue -- a conversation Ravi had with himself about how his family died and what they had been through. A week in which he had lost all his loved ones. In this scene he takes an oath for revenge. That was the most challenging scene of my career. I have done the same scenes in Telugu and Tamil.

Are there two parts? Or two films?

Yes. The first part is about the rise of Ravi and the second is his downfall and death.

How did you prepare for this film?

I had to grow a moustache, but maintaining it was such a hassle. A director like Ram Gopal Varma brings out a different dimension in your performance.

But why did you grow a moustache?

I am essaying the role of Paritala Ravi, who had a moustache.


Image: Vivek Oberoi
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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'I am a non-violent person'

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Is Ravi is a villain or a hero?

I don't believe anyone is good or bad. It's about the choices we make, about how we deal with situations. The decisions we make on the road to take becomes the course of our life thereafter.

Ravi was a messiah for an entire district. He worked for the betterment of the locals. Yet, he had hundreds of legal cases against him. So how do we decide whether a man who is a good husband and son, but chooses violence, was good or evil? He was an educated man. Why did he leave his pen behind and pick up a sickle? It's because he believed if he didn't get justice he would wreak justice.

Do you endorse that?

No. I am a non-violent person, but I went through transition. I sat down and decided I would not have any negativity in me. If someone said something wrong about me, I would still say something nice about them. I've tried everything -- enmity, hatred, anger, violence -- they make you feel heavy, carrying someone else's burden.

My life was in such a negative space that once I took that conscious decision, it changed. I have no enemy, I forgive everyone and that is the strongest emotion.

Thereafter, my life changed. My work got better, my personal life got better as did my social work. If I had continued to hate and be negative, there wouldn't have been place for happiness.

My family and I have seen some really difficult times, but things have changed and today, we are much closer as a family. And now there's a new development in my life -- she (Priyanka) is an amazing and wonderful person.

Image: A scene from Rakht Charitra

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'I will be doing some nice, romantic films soon'

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Your wedding is in October, which is when the film releases. How will you find time to promote the film?

I am sure the producer will work something out.

Will Priyanka promote the film with you?

Why should she? That's a different aspect of my life.

Just like the supporting cast?

Supporting cast? She is the lead in my life.

Why are you doing violent films?

I know... but that is going to change and I will be doing some nice, romantic films soon.


Image: A scene from Rakht Charitra

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