By Satish Sundaresan, Bollywood Hungama News Network
He was once touted as the 'Oberoi' who towers. His debut film Company set his stocks rising so much that it even put the best of scrips to shame! Added to that was the fact he was also carrying the legacy of the illustrious surname of his respected father Suresh Oberoi. We are indeed talking about Vivek Oberoi, who is all set to repeat history, only this time, he wants his work to do the 'talking'. Talk it will, as he is gearing up for Mission Istaanbul amongst others. One may note that Mission Istaanbul shares its initials with the Hollywood blockbuster Mission Impossible. But what remains to be seen is that will Mission Istaanbul create the same impact or maybe more than Mission Impossible? Well, Bollywood Hungama caught up with this actor and came back tad impressed, but, with just one regret that since he was sporting a cap, we couldn't see his new hairstyle that he will be sporting for his next film. Excerpts of the interview:
Vivek, your forthcoming film Mission Istaanbul (MI) has really become the talk of the town. Sunny days are here again…What say brother?
Thank you very much yaar. I just hope that the sunny days retain itself forever! (Smiles)
For starters, what's with your role in the film Mission Istaanbul that people have just not stopped raving about the new and improved Vivek?
Well, I am playing the role of Rizwan Khan, who is a dude with an attitude. At one point in the film, there's a time when Zayed Khan (who plays the role of Vikas Sagar) tells him that "Rizwan, tum toh bilkul bhoot ho. Kabhi bhi kahin bhi aa jaate ho aur kabhi bhi kahin se bhi nikal jaate ho" (Rizwan, you are a ghost, simply because you squeeze in and out anywhere and everywhere). Basically, Rizwan is a person who is one of the best Turkish elite commandos. He gets so deep into the ring of commercial aspects of international terrorism that it eventually leads him being framed into fake circumstances and thus having him suspended from his post. But that doesn't stop him and that he has got the mission to take them down. There's one point in the film when a certain character's life is in danger and he is running through the Grand Bazaar of Istaanbul with six people chasing him with guns, all of a sudden a hand crops in from nowhere (that's Rizwan) and picks him up and pins him to the wall and says "wait a minute here" and he steps out and completely 'dismantles' the six people who are a threat at that point of time. That's the kind of guy Rizwan is and nothing is impossible for him. He is a cool customer who is a main threat to all the villains and he is also a person who inspires the journalist Vikas Sagar.
You are one person who is no stranger to journalists (no pun intended). So, how was it when it came to deal with your co-star playing a journalist?
It is really different I guess. Because in real life, journalists are brave in their own way and they don't crumble due to the threats by the politicians, bigwigs and the industrial figures when they are breaking big story. They come out there and put themselves on the line for the truth. So, I think in that way, it's similar, but, the physicality of this journalist, the physical problem of this journalist that he is going through and how he's constantly running for his life is totally different. The fact also remains that it's not a documentary; hence, it's not so absolutely real. There's no doubt it's a film that's based in the real world of international terrorism but it also has the masala element to it, thus making it a hardcore masala entertaining action flick. So from that prospective, I guess Zayed's character would do little bit of incredulous things in that circumstances. In real life, the journalist would be mentally brave but in this case, this television journalist is not only mentally brave but also physically very brave.
There is news that you have even sung a song in the film. Mission Ustaad….is it?
The answer is, No. I have not sung any song in the film. It's kind of strange, but the fact is that, when my dear friend Mika Mehndi sung the song 'Ae Ganpat Chal Daaru Laa' for me, then people thought it was me who had sung it. And now, he has sung this song which is a follow up to 'Ganpat' that reads as 'Apun Ke Saath Jo Bhi Ladega, Sar Sale Ka Wohi Fatega, Goli Padegi Jo Bheje May, Kaun Maai Ka Laal Rukhega'. He (Mika) has sung the follow of Ganpat with the attitude of Rizwan Khan in the film and this song is the embodiment of that attitude. But the thing with Mika is that whenever he sings anything for me, it sounds like I am singing it myself.
Mission Istaanbul seems like one film which promise to be an out and out action thriller, right from the word 'go'. Action means stunts, and stunts means experiencing some breath taking and breath stopping moments. What kind of action sequences one can look forward to in MI?
The stunts of this film are by Ejaz and Javed, which are simply mind- blowing. They had earlier worked with me in Dum and later Shootout At Lokhandwala. We have done some great stunts and we really had great fun. Apart from blowing up a lot of things, I literally had to jump off the terrace of a building onto a chopper and then the chopper flies onto the ocean and there he jumps off the chopper into the ocean. And as he is jumping down, I had to fire at the chopper to blow it up. My character is someone who is all into doing all these crazy stunts and believe me it was unbelievable to do all the stunts. We have done many underwater shots as well as we also did a lot of explosion! In fact, Zayed and I had one sequence where we are rappelling down from the 44th floor, and here I was giving 4-5 takes of the same shot, even after the shot was Okayed after the first take itself! In fact, the Turkish rappelling expert literally came to me and told me to stop doing so as he did not want to take any chances with me! (Laughs)
Sounds damn interesting Vivek. What were the locations like whereby you have shot?
We have practically shot everywhere, The Bosphorus River, the famous Assk Café, the Blue Mosque and also on some of the tallest buildings. Since I play a Turkish lead commando, we have shot at many places with my character traveling all over the place.
In the climax sequence, I had to run on the tin roof of a very old dilapidated factory that I have to blow up. So I had put all the dynamite sticks everywhere and run on the roof, simply hoping that it doesn't break, because it's like if you stay longer than a few seconds on one patch of roof it felt like you are going to cave in. And by sheer God's grace, I didn't get injured at all. I think I have had more than my fair share of injuries (laughs heartily).
There were also these talks about you getting the six-pack abs. What's the 'status' on that?
It's actually Zayed who is supposed to be getting the six packs as he has to have such a body for the climax. There was a slight confusion about me getting the six packs. But if you see, there's one sequence in the film, whereby Zayed, me and Shweta Bharadwaj take on 30-40 people, who are fully loaded with arms. Shweta was using a baseball bat and Zayed a chain as their weapons. And when I asked Appu (Apoorva Lakhia) about my weapon, he simply smiled and said "Your weapon is your weapon. You are Rizwan Khan. He doesn't need a weapon as he is a weapon in himself!"
Were there any preparations that you underwent while preparing for the role of Rizwan Khan?
There are very few sequences where I have been shown as a part of the Turkish Regiment, which happens to be in a flash back section. But in the scenes where I had to penetrate in the entire ring of the international terrorist operation, we had to be truly authentic. I had picture references even for how a Turkish commando salutes. Even the small things like how their uniform would look like, how they behave, how they load an automatic weapon, all these little things I sat down with and I learnt from the experts. What I did to do this film is that I learnt parts of Arabic and Turkish. But, unfortunately very few have been left in the film because we felt that somewhere it was getting distracting and unfortunately in our films we can't have too much of sub titles.
As you said that Apoorva wrote MI keeping you in mind, it only becomes needless to say that you will be doing his next film too. Right?
Unfortunately no. Due to the date clashes, I had to (with a heavy heart though) let go his film and also Prakash Jha's Rajniti.
Let's talk about your performance at the IIFA. It has really taken the country by storm.
Thanks a lot. I'm really happy because people have loved the song and the 'Ganpat' track is really a big legacy to live upto. I'm happy to the reaction this new song has been getting and to top it all I really enjoyed dancing live on stage.
It's kind of ironical that you play a Turkish commando in reel-life and you have gone underground in real life, only to safeguard your new haircut by Dilshad Pastakia for your new movie with TIPS. So, what was the brief that was given to her?
The only brief was that it had to look completely different from anything that I have done before and believe me, it is looking really different. The problem here is that I have to promote MI so I had to step out. But as per my contract, TIPS requires me to cover my hair all the time. So it's been a difficult process to find new kinds of hats to keep my head covered (laughs).
This film is an action thriller which also marks the directorial debut of Kookie Gulati who has shot some of the famous music videos. What's your role in the film?
All that I can say at this very moment is that this is probably THE biggest film that I have ever done in my career. It also happens to be a solo film and I'm really excited and nervous about it. I have been training for this film since the last eight weeks, under a guy called David from Thailand. It's basically a combination of Muay Thai (Thai kick-boxing) and a combination with that of Aikido and Taekwondo.
Besides that, there is Dean Alexandrou from London, who has trained me in Parkour which is a form of martial art and that's to be performed without cables. So I have lost like roughly around 8 kilos from MI for this film. All in all, I feel like a kid in a candy store!
Lastly, what's new on the menu?
Though I cannot speak much on this, all that I can say is that finally, I'm doing one nice romantic slice of life movie. It's in the same league as Saathiya and we will start shooting early next year. It's been written for me and by someone who is a big fan of Saathiya. This was the script that I was waiting for and I'm happy that I am getting to do this film.