Vivek Oberoi Interview: The amazing response Inside Edge has received goes to show that we have fans all over the world.
Talking to BollywoodMDB, actor Vivek Oberoi says he is overwhelmed by the response his first web-series Inside Edge has received. He also spills beans on the second season of the series.
After proving his mettle as an actor in films, Vivek Oberoi decided to foray into the nascent market of digital content and soon a web-series called Inside Edge was born. Produced by Amazon Studios in association with Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment, the series generated so much response within hours of it being streamed that Vivek and the web-series started trending on Twitter all over the world. Though initially apprehensive about the new world of digital media, the actor is now open to explore opportunities in this new arena. He says that the success of Inside Edge has boosted his confidence manifold. In a conversation with BollywoodMDB Reporter, Mohnish Singh, Vivek Oberoi talks about his experience working on Inside Edge, his co-star Richa Chadda and his upcoming projects.
How are you feeling after the tremendous response your first web-series, Inside Edge, has generated?
I am feeling overwhelmed! It (Inside Edge) has been garnering phenomenal response ever since its release. I remember it was released at the stroke of midnight (10th July) and when I woke up in the morning, my cell phone was flooded with congratulatory messages. Someone from the team called me up and said it (the web-series) has become a hit. The series was trending not just in India, but all over the world. Initially, I thought these were paid trends. But then someone told me that not just the series, but I am also trending in various corners of the world. It was then I realized what had happened. This amazing response just goes to show that we have fans all over the world. People are watching, talking and appreciating the series in places as far as Italy, France, Poland, South Africa and Austria. Amazon released the series not in 50 or 100, but 192 countries. So, it’s been a phenomenal success. I am very lucky!
You have played a diverse range of characters in your movie career so far. Be it Aditya Sehgal from Saathiya or Maya Dolas from Shootout At Lokhandwala, all your characters show a variety and range. So, when the makers of Inside Edge approached you to play Vikrant Dhawan, which is again a very different character, how was your reaction?
Farhan Akhtar (the maker of the series) called me up almost a year ago, saying he’s making a web-series for Amazon. I was like ‘why web-series?’ He said it’s good, come and meet me. When I went to meet him in his office, he told me about the scale and budget of the series. I was hell shocked hearing the budget which was three times of regular Bollywood films. I asked them how’s even that possible. Then they gave me a very interesting calculation. Amazon charge Rs 499 for a year per subscriber so if they have 1 crore subscribers across India, they net Rs 499 crores coming in. Suppose they have 10 crores subscribers, then multiply them by 499 and see the figure. Amazon has a different plan altogether. They are here for a long play. They want bring in more people on the Prime service.
When I heard the subject, it really blew my mind. I was amazed when Karan Anshuman narrated me the whole story. I really loved this character called Vikrant Dhawan. I jammed with the writer and director to add a lot more to the character. Now, the result is out there for all to see.
Don’t you ever think Inside Edge should have been made in a movie format?
No. I think the other way round. After the success of Inside Edge, I strongly feel that my last film Bank Chor, which didn’t do well at the box office, should have been made into a web-series and released on the digital platform. It’s a very young medium. It’s a very new medium. Now the time has come where we need to create content keeping the medium in our mind. There are three major platforms now: TV, films and digital. Every platform has a different set of audience and hence needs different approach when it comes to generating content for them.
The season one of Inside Edge has generated unprecedented response. Will there be a season 2 as well and we see you in it?
Yeah. There is a lot of pressure from fans to come up with a season 2. We have already got intimation from Amazon team to buck up for season 2. Now, it’s just a matter of formally signing the deal. All of us are soon sitting and negotiating the deal.
There is a lot of use of swears and sex scenes in your show?
Well, that’s the way sports people actually talk off ground. Having played boxing nationally, I know all about it. As for sex, it is a natural urge why shy away from showing it? Everyone wants it. Everyone does it. But no one wants to talk about you.
Richa Chadda’s name comes before you in the credit roll. Was it your idea?
Yes. In the name of chivalry what all we do is to ask women to be seated first. But what are we doing for their empowerment? Even today it’s unequal. In my industry, it’s very unequal. It’s a male dominated industry, a star dominated industry. I think Richa is a fabulous actress. She is phenomenal in Inside Edge. She is natural and a performer par excellence. Every film that I do from now on, whenever I have control, I want the top credit to be given to a female star. I want to send a message to people that it’s high time we break their gender barrier.
How has been Farhan Akhtar’s response to your character, Vikrant Dhawan?
He loved it. Farhan and Ritesh both loved it. Farhan was happier because he had promised me many offers before, but things didn’t materialize. This was the first time we ended up working with each other. So, the first thing that Farah said to me was ‘Finally!’ and then both of us laughed. It was great working with Farhan and Ritesh. I am very fond of them personally also. Even though we didn’t work together before, we were great friends. Farhan and Ritesh are great guys.
What else is in the store?
I am doing a film down south called Vivegam. It’s an international spy thriller mounted on a huge scale. It’s made on a budget of Rs. 120 crores. We have shot the entire film in Europe. Ajith Kumar, who is one of the most popular stars in Tamil cinema, is also there in the movie. I am playing a parallel lead with him. I am very excited about the movie.
You have spent over 15 years in films. Are there any plans to go behind the cameras and direct a film?
Not at all! Direction is a very difficult job. It’s painful.
If given a chance to do a biopic, who would you like to play onscreen?