I am not ashamed to admit that I am a Bollywood freak.
Ever since I was young, I have watched Indian films on a weekly basis and have had a strong passion for Bollywood.
I’m also not embarrassed to admit that I wrote to Bipasha Basu and Rohit Roy on Facebook and was lucky enough to get short replies from both of them. Bipasha (I would like to think I’m on first name basis with her) even saw my profile picture, in which I was smoking, and replied “I’m sure you have heard of John Abraham’s “No Smoking” movie – you should learn something from him and also quit smoking!” I was thrilled. Rohit seemed like a very nice guy as well. He wrote back and told me that he is friends with Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood and has been to Pakistan several times. Ok fine, I’m not 100% sure it was really them, but I would like to think I received genuine messages.
I am such an avid fan that when my friend Noor called to tell me that he had spotted Katrina Kaif at Selfridges last year, I jumped up, showered, changed and made my way there, despite the fact that I had actually been in bed and half asleep. Noor and I decided to start off on the ground floor and we each walked in different directions searching for our celebrity sighting. Finally, we met each other on the top floor and were both disappointed that neither of us had been able to spot her, so we decided to take a break at the Selfridges Cafe. As we began to walk there, I saw an absolutely stunning woman standing a few feet away and it turned out to be Katrina Kaif. Although Noor was too shy to go and say hello to her, I made my way over to her, albeit slightly trembling, muttered “I am a fan, please have a good time in London” and walked away. I felt like such an idiot. Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you that I ran into John Abraham in Knightsbridge last week as well, where I was confident enough to say “Hey John” which definitely caught him by surprise. Ha ha!
Anyway, about a year ago, I saw Vivek Oberoi’s profile on a friend’s friend list on Facebook. Of course, I had to message him immediately and introduce myself as a huge fan. For some reason, I feel it’s necessary to give positive feedback to these celebrities, as they are brought down by the media so much already.
Just to give you a quick brief even though I’m sure you all know already, Vivek Oberoi is a well-known Bollywood actor and the son of the legendary Suresh Oberoi and Yashodara. After graduating from Aditanar College and completing his masters from New York University, Vivek made his debut in Ram Gopal Varma’s film, Company. Although he has had many massive hits, some of my personal favorites include Company, Saathiya, Yuva, Kaal, Shootout at Lokhandwala and of course Omkara. Vivek has been fortunate enough to receive many awards, including best debut, best supporting actor, and best villain among others, which, in my opinion, are very well deserved.
Anyway, after my introductory e-mail, I got a reply from him immediately, in which he said that he had a deep connection with Pakistan as some of his family had ties over there and he seemed to be extremely familiar with Pakistani politics and culture as well. Although I had my doubts and was not convinced it was really him, I went with the flow and replied to his message. He mentioned that he was in Philadelphia shooting for “Qurbaan”, which coincidentally turned out to be at the same time I was heading to New York for my brother’s birthday. I told my brother and a few of my friends in New York that I had spoken to the famous Vivek Oberoi and that he seemed to be a very nice and genuine guy. They all hysterically laughed at me and made fun of me for the entire trip as they were convinced that he was a fake Vivek Oberoi who was pulling my leg and trying to make a fool out of me. Although I tried to prove them wrong by messaging Vivek on Facebook in hopes of a quick reply, he was extremely busy at the time with the shoot and we didn’t end up speaking during that trip
Last week, however, I got a text message saying “Hey, I’m in London and this is my global cellular number – Vivek Oberoi”. I stood in shock and didn’t know what to do, so I called my brother who shouted at me and told me to grow up as someone was obviously pretending to be Vivek Oberoi and was probably going to murder me and dump my body in the back of a car. I literally hung up on him in anger and sent Vivek a reply saying “Welcome to London and get in touch if you’re free”.
Later that night, I met up with one of my closest friends from childhood after years and we ended up going to a club together. As we entered the club, we ran into a few of our other school friends who began shouting that Vivek Oberoi was there. I tried to look for him and was keeping my fingers crossed that it was the same Vivek who had texted me earlier, I couldn’t find him for an hour and and that point I decided to give up my search and continue to party with my friends. A few minutes later, Vivek’s friend came up to me and said “he’s here now” so I turned around to say hello and surprisingly, he recognized me! We spoke for a long time and I was impressed with how humble, down to earth, genuine and nice he was considering that he’s one of the biggest Bollywood celebrities.
Over the next few days, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to hang out with Vivek and see him as a person rather than just a superstar. We had some interesting discussions and I was impressed to learn more about his career, personal life, and future ambitions. The media tends to focus only the negatives when it comes to a celebrity so it was great to meet one in person. For example, you have probably not heard that Vivek sponsored an entire village during the tsunami. While other Bollywood stars were leading their usual comfortable lives following the tsunami, Vivek Oberoi was one of the very few who deserted his usual comforts to go to Devinampattinam, a remote fishing hamlet ravaged by the killer waves that claimed more than 8,000 lives. As expected, Vivek was devastated and announced a rehabilitation project and began to house the survivors in temporary homes while promising them permanent housing as well. He gave them hope, which was backed up by boats, nets, schools, play grounds and community centers. Along with that, Vivek also took his passion to new heights with his support for an organization which promotes affordable art, saying that “it’s great to be associated with such a program as it promotes two things that are very dear to my heart – art and charity. I like to call it art for hearts, as part of the proceeds collected will be donated to Yashodhara Oberoi Foundation for the various causes it supports, from heart surgery for poor children to the empowerment of women”.
I have really enjoyed being able to experience such a unique opportunity and wish Vivek all the best with his releases later this year. Really looking forward to them!