Vivek Oberoi on his role in Inside Edge Season 3: Vikrant is ambitious but feels disfranchised in life
'When someone's been disfranchised or disempowered, the hunger and greed for sheer power is extreme, and that's Vikrant,' says Vivek Oberoi.
Vivek Anand Oberoi is back as Vikrant Dhawan, in the latest season of Prime Video original series Inside Edge. After the phenomenal success of the first two parts, Season 3 continues exploring the dark underbelly of cricket, with ‘the game behind the game’ becoming more intriguing and a personal vendetta taking the centre stage. In an interview, Vivek Anand Oberoi speaks about his return to the third season, his character, journey in the industry, and much more. Excerpts:
You are back in the third season of Inside Edge. Does it feel like a homecoming? Or does familiarity breed ennui?
It is a bit of homecoming but there is no place for complacency. We feel that you could just sleep through the character you have been doing since 2017 and just walk through it. But it's different because somewhere my character Vikrant Dhawan and the series has got all this love and so many fans. For me the pressure of performing, to match the expectations of all the people who look forward to seeing Vikrant Dhawan coupled with the fact that you want to retain the essence of what works and what doesn't, what people like about the character but at the same time evolve and bring something new to it, and that's always the difficult one.
Your character has many layers?
Vikrant's character is very larger than life. Most places you will see him with that larger-than-life persona with the exception of some scenes in Season 3, where his mask falls off, where you see his scars, things that make him what he really was. All of this wasn't a cakewalk and I was extremely nervous on the first day of my shoot for this season. I kept calibrating every shot, I kept asking my director Kanishk Varma many questions during the shoot.
It is quite obvious that you own the role of Vikrant Dhawan. How do you see and interpret him? Is he the smouldering bastard son like Mr Bachchan in Trishul? Or something else?
Thank you, I do like it when someone praises my character. Ever since the beginning of my career, I tend to write an autobiography of all the characters I have played so far. I write a script of my own from the character's childhood till the point the script actually begins and then what happens after the script has ended. So, I get the holistic sense of the character. That helps a lot.
Secondly, I don't think Vikrant's akin to character and Amitabh Bachchan's character in Trishul is so iconic, you can't compare with him. But yes, Vikrant is somebody who is ambitious but feel disfranchised in some point of his life, which you feel see in the third season. When someone's been disfranchised or disempowered, the hunger and greed for sheer power is extreme and that's Vikrant. He has this strange dynamic with power and it reflects interestingly in his relationship with his wife Sudha that you see in the whole BDSM and domination angle. It's a very interesting parallel between the two.
You remain a brilliant actor with an astounding control over dialogue expression. Why don’t we see you more often on screen?
I have been truly busy with setting up of my university in Gujarat. I have been setting up my start-up ecosystem, building a few companies, taking a few companies public. I have been doing a lot of interesting things outside the film space which are now well-settled and structured and now I think I have the right amount of time and hunger to come and do a lot more work as an actor. This year I have about six projects on the table and lot more exciting stuff coming up that I am producing and writing.
We saw you play PM Modi in 2018. tell me about that experience?
Yes, PM Narendra Modi will always be a special film for me. It was an incredible opportunity to play this character. Wasn't easy to play, though. This was also one of the toughest films and we went to hell with the Supreme Court and the politics that was involved. I can't say that we weren't prepared for it but what we can say is that we were not prepared it for this intense. All said and done, the movie was out and people complemented me for the role.
Do you think that OTT platform is a blessing for neglected actors like you?
OTT is a phenomenal blessing for the actors. I think what OTT has done is a trick that we missed as an industry. We missed nurturing an ecosystem for the young, bright talent and purely basing it on merit rather than what lobby, what friendship and what surname you bring to the table. That's something we missed. We built it in a way that didn't allow the fresh talent to flourish. OTT does that. I think OTT has taken the mantle to be that nursery where people can showcase their creativity. It is so democratic. What OTT does is that you have a big movie or a show and also a small movie or a show. OTT is doing a lot more for the actors and the art. Everybody is benefitting from OTT.
Coming back to Inside Edge, what was your equation like with your co- actors?
The equation in Inside Edge has always been special. From the very first party that I threw for the cast before we started filming, and we just hung out. We spoke, we ate, we jammed and we removed any kind of hierarchy between the young actors and us. By doing that you allow a free flow of ideas, discussions and we established as one team who is moving towards one goal. We are like one large extended family with a hilarious WhatsApp group.
Are you game for Season 4? What are your plans for the coming year?
For Season 4, yeah, the script is lying on my desk. Just joking. Yeah, as long as we have to evolve the show and the characters one season more, I would love to do that. That would be wonderful.
Are you happy with the way your career panned out? if you could change anything what would it be?
I think I've reached the stage in my life when …. It's going to be 20 years for me to be in the industry next year, two decades. It's quite funny as I keep saying I'm probably the guy, the actor who should have the Guinness Record for the maximum obituaries written for his career. I'm still standing here and enjoying myself and doing well for myself. For me, it's about being in the now, not looking in the review mirror but driving forth and enjoying the view. I'm happy and that's what matters to me.
Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based journalist. He has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out.
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