Vivek Oberoi, who has been acting for over 15 years and has been a part of memorable films such as "Company", "Saathiya" and "Rakht Charitra", says he is choosy about the work he does as he likes to distribute his time between family and his philanthropical activities.
Last seen on screen in heist comedy "Bank Chor", he is gearing up for the release of his Tamil debut film "Vivegam".
"I'm still choosy about my work. I like to do one film a year and sometimes even two, but not more. I'm enjoying watching my children grow. I like to spend more time with them. I also have my businesses and charitable organizations that keep me busy," Vivek told IANS in an interview.
He picks his films after considerable thought.
Asked what drew him towards "Vivegam", he said it is director Siva's passion.
"It's not the first south film I have been offered. I have turned down projects from all the south industries in the past. But when Siva approached me with 'Vivegam', it took just fifteen minutes to get convinced. I was moved by the passion with which he narrated and I wanted to work with him," recalls Vivek, adding that he was initially hesitant about foraying into Tamil industry.
"It's a new language, which means double the effort. The shoot required me to stay away from my kids for a long time in really cold countries. I wasn't quite sure initially, but Siva's conviction and faith in his script bowled me over," he said.
The film is named after Vivek, and that made being part of project even more special.
On teaming up with Ajith, one of the stars of Tamil filmdom, Vivek said he found a brother in him.
"I was touched by his humility. On the first day of the shoot, he walked up to me and thanked me for being part of the project. He referred me as sir and I didn't know how to react. But I could sense he was really humble and not faking it," Vivek said.
Elaborating with an example, he said: "I still remember that one time when he made tea and served to everybody on the sets, including my staff. A star of his stature need not to do that but he did and that surprised all of us."
Vivek was also inspired by Ajith's commitment.
"He worked really hard on his physique for this project. He told me he was ashamed of his body in 'Vedalam', and wanted to get in shape. He was so committed. In Serbia, he was the first to be in the gym every morning and he worked out rigorously," he said.
Ajith sports six-pack abs in the film, due for release on Thursday. His look was revealed in the film's first poster and it sent his fans into the frenzy.
Vivek isn't nervous about the film's release. He already feels accepted by the audiences.
"The kind of love and warmth Ajith anna's fans have shown me on social media makes me already feel accepted. It's one of the best roles I have played in my career. I play a spy and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of this project," he said.
This is a year of many firsts for Vivek. Apart from "Vivegam", he made his debut in the digital space via the web series "Inside Edge", currently streaming on Amazon.
Talking about the experience of venturing into a new space, he said: "Let's not judge a platform by its size. It's the experience that matters to me and if I find that on stage in a 100-seater theatre, that's where I want to be.
"When I accepted 'Inside Edge', people thought I'm out of work. If you start thinking about others, you can't live your life. Only around 2.25 crore people watch movies in cinemas but over 40 crore people in India have smartphones. What's wrong if I cater to the 40 crore people through a new platform?"