Vivek Oberoi: The last time I did a solo hero film it was a total disaster!

Riding high on the success of Grand Masti – the surprise hit of the year – Vivek Oberoi is now kicked – and how! – about his next release, Krrish 3. BollywoodLife chatted with the star to find out what his menacing character Kaal is all about in the new sci-fi flick starring Hrithik Roshan as Krrish…

Miles away from his controversial and sorry past, Vivek Oberoi is a contented, warm and self-assured person now. Happy in the space he functions in with his trademark ease and warmth, the actor cannot believe that his last film Grand Masti managed to rake in unbelievable moolah – Rs 100 crore and counting. Boosted by the commercial success of the critically panned sex comedy, Vivek is now excited about his next, Krrish 3. We caught up with the 37-year-old to find out how he agrees to play a role that is completely contradictory to his real life self….

Grand Masti is the surprise hit of the year – are you happy with the response to the film and the money it has made at the box office?

‘Happy’ is an understatement, yaar! I’m excited and ecstatic. Kabhi sapne main bhi nahi socha tha ki is tarah ka response aayega, to be honest.

But did you anticipate that the film would make Rs 100 crore?

When we were shooting for the movie, the only person who was very positive about it right from the beginning was Indra Kumar. And we would laugh saying, ‘Sir, kyun Rs 100 crore ke peeche lage ho!’ The last sex comedy we saw Delhi Belly and it made Rs 54 crore. So keeping that in mind, we would say, ‘Sir, you can say that your movie will make Rs 60 crore. If you are too greedy, say Rs 70 crore, but Rs 100 crore is a bit much!’. Now we know that he was right with his confidence and his estimation, which has shocked all of us.

Many women detested your film for its vulgar content…

No. In fact, I saw so many women coming to the theatres with their groups, with their girlfriends and enjoying the movie. See, the USP of the movie is that it is a stress-free, stress-busting film, plus it is a sex comedy. So those who watched it once brought along their friends to watch it three or four times, which was shocking. And believe you me, more than 50 percent of the audiences was women.

Does the success of this film stand testimony to our hypocrisy towards sex comedy? How you interpret the success of Grand Masti?

I don’t know yaar. My life is damn simple man. I leave the interpretations to the analysts like you. Let all the intellectuals do the job of interpreting the success, but I prefer enjoying success rather than analysing it too much. You see success has no formula, otherwise everyone would only beeen successful and there would have been no failures around. So just chill and enjoy life as it comes and that’s my funda.

Your character Kaal in Krrish 3 – how did you bag the role?

Duggu (Hrithik Roshan) called me one day to say that his dad, Guddu uncle ( Rakesh Roshan) wanted to meet me. I came to meet Guddu uncle in this very office. He gave me the Krrish 3 script and said, ‘I want you to read it’. I was so curious and excited that I did not even go to my house to read it. I sat in his office and read the whole script, cover to cover. The script was mind blowing and I wondered, how can we make this film in India! Guddu uncle was like, ‘Woh sab chod, and tell me if you would like to play the role of Kaal the villain in Krrish 3.’ And my response was, ‘Absolutely, yes!’

The moment I said yes, Guddu uncle said that he was relieved, coz he thought I would have my apprehensions about playing a negative character. He also said that he had written the role of Kaal keeping me in mind. For me to do this film and for Guddu uncle to say such a sweet thing about me and have faith in me to do this role was a big honour.

Interestingly, at the trailer launch of Agneepath Hrithik Roshan said when he was asked if Kaancha Cheena’s negative character would overpower his positive character in the film, that the bigger the villain, the mightier the hero. Do you think the same can be said about Kaal in Krrish 3? Is he powerful enough to challenge the superhero’s incredible powers?

That’s exactly my point! Because so far you have seen Krrish-the superhero. You know his talents. And now you get a villain jo usko takkar de sakta hain. So even Krrish has to use his full potential in this movie and he has to go a notch higher to fight with my character. I will take on Hrithik in this one and that was something that excited me about the project In this movie the hero is established already; on the other hand, Kaal is growing in the shadows, quietly but steadily. He will grow to the point that he will take on Krrish.

Do you think Kaal is on par with legendary villains like Gabbar and Mogambo?

I hope yaar, waisa hi ho. We all have grown up mimicking all these villains. I hope Kaal reaches that level.

Is Kaal related to Naseeruddin Shah’s villainous character from Krrish?

No, my character is not at all related to his.

How did you prepare yourself physically and mentally to be Kaal?

It took me about three months of preparation to be Kaal. There are certain physical attributes of the character that needed to look real and absolutely flawless. I remember we were shooting in Ramoji Film City last April and the heat was unbearable. In 48 degree heat I had to wear this heavy costume weighing 28 kg. And then I had to do all the stunts – every kick and every punch would take so much energy because I was wrapped in heavy metal.

It must have been equally tough to understand the psyche of the character and enter his mindspace. Were you emotionally drained?

Oh, don’t ask! I am a happy-go-lucky guy in real life. I like to chat a lot. So when I come to the sets, usually I am positive, open and happy. I talk to co-stars, I interact with people on the sets and I chill. But since my character Kaal required that unwavering focus and tremendous intensity, it was challenging. It was contradictory to my core nature. Kaal hates the human race for what it has done to him. It is not a switch-on switch-off kind of role. So I had to focus hard to immerse myself in the character that’s filled with vengeance and anger.

How did you maintain the seriousness of the character without being your usual cheery self?

I would go into my vanity wan and stand two inches away from the mirror. I used to look into the mirror and get into the mindset of Kaal. I used to come very close to Kaal’s psyche. Once that was done, I would insulate myself from my usual happy self, come to the set and not talk to anyone till the shot was captured. I had to bottle up that evil within me so that the vengeance and the anger the character was feeling was reflected in my eyes, even without saying a line. It was emotionally taxing!

Professionally speaking, what space is Vivek Oberoi in currently? Do you want to do more solo films in the future, considering the fact that most of your successes – from Company to Shootout At Wadala to Grand Masti – have been multi-starrers?

I am in a happy space. I am doing the roles that I love.The last time I did a solo hero kind of role, in Jayanthabhai Ki Love Story, I carried it on my shoulders and it was a total disaster at the box office. I don’t select films thinking that I will be the only hero. The project has to be a hero in itself. Film making is a process, and I enjoy that process thoroughly.