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    Working with Aishwarya was so much fun, says Vivek Oberoi

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Tuesday, August 17, 2004
    For Vivek Oberoi "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" has been an exciting project. He has had the pleasure of acting opposite his real love Aishwarya Rai and being pitted with Amitabh Bachchan was a "dream-come-true".

    "I''m a thorough professional," says Oberoi who maintains he did not let his real love for the green-eyed beauty spill over onto reel life. "Neither of us allowed our personal feelings to creep into our characters," he told IANS in an interview.

    "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" means much to Oberoi as he has been closely involved with it right from the script writing stage. "It felt like it was my lovely!"

    Excerpts from an interview:

    "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" looks like your most romantic film to date?

    It isn't really an out-and-out romantic film. Its more a fun film where I play an exuberant flamboyant character. It's about two morally mismatched people. Aishwarya plays a romantic at heart. She has these crazy romantic notions about the perfect love and the perfect man who'd sweep her off her feet....very Mills & Boon. For my character, Karan, love is just not important. That makes him most unlike me (laughs).Interestingly, Karan wants an arranged marriage in "Kyun....". Not out of a respect for tradition but out of practical convenience. She can't understand how anyone can marry a stranger. So we're two completely incompatible creatures brought together by Mr Bachchan.

    Thank you for spoiling the film for me.

    You're welcome. Let me also tell you, contrary to general belief this isn't a film in the same genre as "Hum Tum" or "When Harry Met Sally". It isn't a boy-girl but a man-woman story. I've done a romantic film before. But "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" is more bubbly young and popcorn than "Saathiya". It's a less heavy film. The tone was always meant to be light and incandescent. I play a grownup who refuses to look at relationships with any seriousness. The couple in this film isn't at loggerheads at all. They're buddies with differing attitudes towards love. I loved my character because he gets to play pranks on Ash. But it's all very innocently done. I too love my little jokes in real life as long it doesn't harm anybody.

    How difficult was it to enact the cynic when in real life you are totally in love with the actress?

    (laughs uncomfortably) It wasn't difficult at all. At the end of the day we're all actors. I may be shown pumping bullets into someone. That doesn't mean I'm really doing it... For me it's all about creating associations as an actor. Through those associations I build a world for my character. I imagined a world for my character Karan and then I worked on it. Besides Aishwarya, I had great fun working with Amitji, Om Puriji . All three have great comic timing. You'll be surprised to see how young and vibrant Amitji is in the film. He's such a pleasure to watch.

    How do you rate your own performance?

    Five out of 10.

    How much did your real love affect the on screen chemistry?

    I'm a thorough professional, and so is she. Neither of us allowed our personal feelings to creep into our characters. Sure, I share a great chemistry with Aishwarya in "Kyun Ho Gaya Na". But haven't I shared an equally great chemistry Rani Mukherjee in "Saathiya" and Kareena Kapoor in "Yuva"? Our chemistry seemed so real that people thought I had something to do with Rani in real life. Likewise, if in "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" I had a different co-star I'd have performed the same way. The fact that Aishwarya is such an expressive actress, that her eyes seem to speak volumes even when her lips are sealed, is important to me as an actor. There's so much of give-and-take between us as actors. When an actor shares screen space with a colleague there's a lot of playing off against one another. Working with Aishwarya was so much fun. Even before I got to know her, I loved the fact that she was such a wonderful co-artiste. I know of so many actresses who fuss about things that aren't part of their actual contract. Throwing a tantrum is alien to Aishwarya. Even for rehearsals Aishwarya took time off from her jam packed schedules to give me my cues. When the lighting is done on the set she stands patiently. She doesn't mind improvising. She creates a very attractive atmosphere on the sets. She makes you happy to be working.

    Did the relationship start on the sets of this film?

    Not at all! I met Aishwarya for the first time when I was writing a script for Vidhu Vinod Chopra along with Abbas Tyrewallah. It was supposed to star Amitji, Sanju(Sanjay Dutt), Aishwarya and me. In fact Vinodji asked me to direct it. But I thought writing and acting were a handful. I met Aishwarya for the first time when I narrated my script. This was before my first film "Company". Subsequently, we came together for "Kyun Ho Gaya Na".

    That's funny. Because Samir Karnik claims that you two met for the first time on his sets.

    That's hogwash. The whole world knows I met her many times before "Kyun Ho Gaya Na". In fact I put Samir on to Aishwarya.

    How far have you contributed to the overall shape of "Kyun Ho Gaya Na"?

    I worked extensively on the script with Tushar Hiranandani and Milap Zaveri. Since the director Samir Karnik was new he had no access to the people he wanted to cast. I got him a meeting with Aishwarya's and Mr Bachchan's secretary. I even introduced Samir to Boney Kapoor to produce the film when the deal with another producer UTV fell through. Finally, we had our project. It felt like it was my lovely!

    And Mr Bachchan?

    It was a dream-come-true to work with Bachchan Saab. I've hero-worshipped him all my life. He's like god for me. The other night I watched him in "Agneepath". He's something else. To share the screen with him, to spend 25 days shooting with Amitji is a dream come true. I really look up to him. It's so nice of him to speak so highly of me in some interview. I don't think I deserve that kind of praise. I'm humbled by the bigness of the Big B.

    How does "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" compare with your other releases this year?

    The variety is wonderful. People have started calling me 'Versatile Vivek'. I always wanted to be appreciated for doing different roles. I keep touching new genres. After "Kyun Ho Gaya Na", I've Subhash Ghai's "Kissna" which is a serious film, and my first period epic. After that I've Soham Shah's film which is a thriller. I've never done that before. I'm trying to keep both myself and the audience entertained. I hope I'll succeed.

    Would you be doing more films with Aishwarya if "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" clicks?

    We've been offered many other films together. But I've also been offered films with Preity and Kareena. I do only one film at a time. And I don't work with actresses. I work with directors.

    How come no films with Rani after "Saathiya"?

    It's really strange. Apart from Kunal Kohli's "Hum Tum" I haven't been offered any film with Rani.

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