Happy birthday Vivek Oberoi: Did you know he was considered too good-looking for Company, stayed in slums to convince Ram Gopal Varma?
Vivek Oberoi burst onto the Bollywood scene in 2002 with Ram Gopal Varma’s Company. He won several plaudits for his role as a gangster named Chandrakant ‘Chandu’ Nagre, who rises up the ranks to eventually become his boss Malik’s rival.
Did you know that Vivek almost lost out on Company as Ram Gopal Varma felt he looked ‘too good’ for the role? However, he requested for a chance to prove himself and succeeded in changing the filmmaker’s mind.
As Vivek turns 44 on Thursday, here’s revisiting how he bagged his very first film and made a lasting impression on the audience. In a 2017 interview with Hindustan Times, he had revealed that his father, veteran actor Suresh Oberoi, was keen on launching him in an Abbas-Mustan film but he wanted to go about things differently.
“I always wanted to become an actor on my own, so I told him that I would like to go through my struggle. So I went to RGV sir’s office, and told him to give me an audition for the role of Chandu. He did not know (then) that I was Suresh Oberoi’s son. I told him my name was Vivek Anand. He told me I look too good for the role, and he wanted to cast someone who looked like a gangster from the slums,” he had said.
Vivek persuaded RGV to give him 15 days to convince him that he was the right choice for the role. “I stayed in the slums. I slept on the floor like others did, with big mice around. I used the public toilets. I had started looking like the part. On the day I was supposed to meet him, I took out some mud from a plant at his office and applied it on my face. I walked into his room, with a beedi in my mouth — I sat on the chair and kept my legs on his desk, and said, ‘ Ey yeh thobda kya dekh raha hai’. That convinced him,” he said.
Company won Vivek two trophies at the Filmfare Awards that year - Best Debut as well as Best Supporting Actor. He then starred in a number of films including Saathiya, Yuva, Omkara and Shootout At Lokhandwala.
Vivek is all set to turn producer now and has announced two projects - Iti: Can You Solve Your Own Murder, which will mark the acting debut of Sushmita Sen’s brother Rajeev Sen, and Rosie: The Saffron Chapter, which will introduce Shweta Tiwari’s daughter Palak Tiwari.
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