Vivek Oberoi who is known for his film shoot out at lokhandwala has now backed the film industry with Narendra Modi biopic. His recent film release has been cancelled many a times due to political controversies is now finally set to release on 24th May 2019.
Q. Narendra Modi is going to come back as a prime minister so do you think it is going to benefit the movie?
Vivek – I don’t know about that but it is definitely going to benefit the country. I think he is going to come back with more power with unanimous majority. I think it is going to be vote of confidence and not out of veins. In 2014 people wanted change but now I think people don’t want change.
Q. What made you to come back with a patriotic film?
Vivek – Patriotism is in my blood. I am born in family where both my father’s side were complete revolutionaries and from my mother’s side my grandpa was in Southern India in Chennai amd he was freedom fighter in patriot in chennai. When mom and dad got married the common thing was patriotism. What I discovered about Narendra Modi and what has he done to me as a person, how he has impacted me in life… see I don’t wanna fight for the films in past. There are some films which leaves a mark and this is that film. I have been fascinated by his work. I know him since the time we were friends when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, I have met him multiple times heart of privilege of hearing his ideology, vision, progressive nature, there are so many things that I have experienced over the years but still there was so much. One thing that clicked me is we chase for what we don’t have, if we come from poverty our 1st aim is I want so much money that I don’t have to see poverty again. He was kid who watched his mother wash vessels in other people houses for money yet he didn’t chase money being a gujarati. It should be that he would have joined one of his uncles asking for help to set up a business, he never chased money. A man who had nothing, came from nothing gave his everything to the country. I am a true philanthropist – it is done on a full start. When you hungry you won’t think of others who are hungry, there are very few people who come from nothing and say I don’t want anything I want it for my people and that is amazing. That is the one thing that stayed with me in terms of mindset. The 2nd that happened finally was transformation, so when sandeep sir announced Vivek Oberoi film Narendra Modi people were like ‘kahan Vivek Oberoi kahan Narendra Modi koi match nahi hai’ all of that trolls came in, but I am a positive person so I said challenge accepted and started working and said ‘chalo physical transformation karte hai’. In physical transformation the problem was everyone said we should call prosthetic artist from Japan or UK but I was like Narendra Modi hai toh prosthetic Make in India hona chahiye. The process started from here we put 7-8 hours in prosthetic, for the first time I had put on all that silicon and gum on my face, whole team was waiting what will happen next and I said ok guys this is a wrap will do it again and than team was like we can’t do more than this. 15 time we did prosthetic and 15th time we got it right. This was done the another challenge was performance. I was like how will I get that spark in eyes, lens won’t help and this is also not taught in any acting school to bring spark in eyes. I thought a lot about it, it must be strength from discipline. I remember Narendra Bhai telling me in Gujarat no matter what time I sleep I wake up at 4 and do pranayam and yoga. First it was very difficult for me, 5 months before the shooting I woke up at 4 and followed his routine every single and then went out for shoot. I did all transformative changes. I remember a day before the poster launch I called Hrithik to my place and his 1st reaction was full of shock ‘dude it is you what a transformation’ it was great conversation with him. That habit of waking up at 4 in morning has stayed with me. I love these kind of challenges, allow me as a method actor to transform to get into the space and some of it just stays.
Q. A day before the film was about to release and the release was cancelled so what were the emotions you went through?
Vivek – Ofcourse we were really upset and disappointed. There was all these court cases, it was funny like Narendra Modi on 1 side and all the political parties attacking him making a ‘maha gath bandhan’ against him I felt like that maha gath bandhan was against our film. Suddenly there was NCP saying ‘picture band karo’ Raj Thackeray, Mamta Devi and everyone saying the same. I was like you should talk about the confidence in your work, your belief in yourself why you are shaken of by a small film. The freedom of speech and constitutional right allows us to make the film, when we made the film we made a full legal check and we not against any single model code of conduct. There was an oral submission by EC, the EC said we have told CBC go ahead keep model code of conduct in mind no issues. Everything was fine weeks on end promotion was going on, one night before the release I don’t know what pressure came on the EC with in a night they sent me a notice. It was preview the same day and we had to cancel, everyone was very disappointed.
Q. What was your reaction when you were approached for the film?
Vivek – Sandeep know me for 18 years, he came up and said look I am making film on Narendra Modi and I want you to play the lead. We are friends but we never worked together, whenever he pitched me any film I said not this but with this film I said ok I am doing it. Next day we hired a team we started research, interviews, meeting people and all. It was a big challenge to put entire life of a man from chaiwala to prime minister in 2 hrs 15 mins film.
Q. Film was shot in very short span of time.
Vivek – Right, people did tell us you made the film in a hurry but no we made it early and efficiently. We shot in a record time of 38 days as it was very well prepared. We spent so much time in pre production and Sandeep is fantastic the team has so much energy. It was not easy to shoot in heat and dust from the sands of kutch to minus 20 degrees and 5 feet deep snow in gangotri.
Interview by Rupal Purohit