Vivek Oberoi talks about his first hit-Company
MUMBAI MIRROR (May 25, 2012)
My first film, Company, was my first hit. I was lucky in that. I remember I was shooting for Saathiya near the Gaiety Galaxy theatre in Bandra. It was a chasing scene with Rani Mukerji, my co-star. It was also the day my first film had released. Like every newcomer, I was nervous. I was anxious about the audience’s reaction. In the evening when the shows in the theatre got over, people gathered around the sets. A few of them recognised me and started calling me Chandu, my character’s name in Company. Suddenly, hundreds of people flocked around me. The crowd went out of control and we had to wrap up the shoot of Saathiya. The unit members had to call the security to get me out of that area. It was a completely new experience for me. My friend and director Shaad Ali (Saathiya) hugged me tight and said, “Tu toh star ho gaya bhai.” I will always remember that very moment.
The following Sunday, I visited a single screen theatre in South Mumbai. I sat in the last row to check out people’s reaction. I had planned to meet the audience during the intermission. However, once the film started, people started swarming in and some people asked me to vacate the seat. I did not have a ticket and the show was houseful. It was a rather novel experience for me. I had to watch my own debut film sitting on the stairs.
Later, when people recognised me, they started asking me for autographs. When I left the theatre, for the first time I realised that I, like other big stars, now had fans too. The crowd went berserk and the glass panels of the theatre were broken by enthusiastic fans.
Following this incident, I visited many cities across India for post promotions of Company. I saw people going mad watching me. More so at the interval when my character says, “Tu aur teri company, khallas.”
I can never forget that. Nothing can perhaps match the feeling of one’s first hit. It’s like your first love – unforgettable.
The film, Company changed a lot of things for me. As a struggler, I used to visit filmmakers and production houses with my portfolio. I wanted to create an identity on my own. I never used to tell people that I was Suresh Oberoi’s son. I used to wait outside several offices.
Some people said I did not look like a conventional hero. Some even told me that I shouldn’t pursue acting. They told me I should try my luck in the camera department or anything else behind the camera. And then, all of a sudden, after Company, these very people started approaching me with film offers. The tables had turned – now they waited to meet me.
When my mentor Ramuji (Ram Gopal Varma) cast me in Company, my well wishers advised me not to start off my acting career with a rough role and that too opposite an established star like Ajay Devgn. Everybody said that the first film should be a love story. But after Company released, perceptions changed drastically.
That year I was nominated for an award in the Best Supporting Actor category. Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) and Sanjay Dutt were also nominated in the same category. I did not expect to win it. I couldn’t believe my ears when the announcement actually happened. I had won the award. I did not even have a speech ready.
– As told to Amrapali Sharma