Talented American born Hindi film actor Akshay Oberoi has had an amazing turnaround in his career in the last few years.
After his debut with Rajshri Productions’ Isi Life Mein, Akshay has played varied roles in films Laal Rang, Gurgaon, Kaalakaandi etc.
On the web front, Akshay Oberoi has impressed one and all with his versatile performances in Bar Code, The Test Case and the very recent ALTBalaji series with Shweta Tiwari, Hum Tum And Them.
The year 2020 will be huge for the young man as he is said to play three unique roles in Law and Honour (Voot), Flesh, (Eros Now) and Magic (MX Player).
He also has a great lineup of movies with him shooting for KTina, Madam CM and the remake of Tamil film Thiruttu Payale 2.
In an exclusive and detailed chat, Akshay Oberoi gets into the highs and lows of his career and also takes us through his projects that are lined up.
You have had a remarkable start to your long career. Take us through this beautiful journey.
It’s been nearly 10 years with me being in this line. Yes, it has been a beautiful journey. The way my career has gone, it has led me to make choices and has taught me to chase the right things. At the time when my first film with an established production house happened and did not do well, I went back to the theater, and ever since, I have always worked towards trying to prove myself as an actor. My priorities are aligned not towards becoming a star, but towards becoming a good actor. I really discovered what I love as an actor all through my journey.
I don’t know whether I am a star in the making, but I am sure that I am an actor in the making (smiles).
You are slated to be one star in the making in the big screen circuit. How do you feel?
I have been at it for a long time. Any craft that you take up, you need to be skilled. It is very tough to give a great performance. I know many people have done it. You need multiple years of experience and time to get better and better in the job. Thanks to the digital platform and even the content niche kind of cinema that I have done, I have got the chance to work on myself. You need to technically build the skill over and over again. I have spent a lot of time in USA and in Mumbai.
I got to play a smalltown boy in Laal Rang. I got to play a Jhat in Gurgaon. I get to play a druggie in MX Player series Magic. And I play a flesh trade owner in Siddharth Anand series Flesh. These are just a few parts. I don’t know whether I am a star in the making, but I am sure that I am an actor in the making (smiles).
I am going to get better and better as that is where my priority lies. I don’t get jealous when I hear of any other actor’s great performance or money made. I want better work and that’s it.
The thought of stretching myself beyond what I have done, pushes me into such roles.
Tell us how you pick a certain role and medium of work.
I don’t really care about the medium. All that matters is about who is directing and what the script is. I know in my heart in say five minutes after going through the certain factors that I need to know, of whether I am interested in the project or not. If I am interested, I don’t think much. I sign up and jump into my character and role. I like to have fun with the role. I just go with my heart. Sometimes, there are few characters that really scare me. The thought of stretching myself beyond what I have done pushes me into such roles.
You have had a great outing on the digital medium. Take us through this journey.
I feel like I am fortunate to have jumped into it early. There was the series It’s Not That Simple for Voot, with Swara Bhaskar. Kaalakandi was about to release when I got this offer. I jumped at it and then I realized that the medium was picking up and was doing good. I stuck at it. In the last few years, I have done a lot of work on the web. I have done Bar Code, The Test Case, Selection Day. The year 2019 was full of many web-series. I am very happy how Hum Tum and Them has turned out for ALTBalaji. I play a lawyer in Law and Honour, a druggie as I said in Magic and a flesh trade owner in Flesh. I have been enjoying the digital game. This is the new exciting future to watch content.
Above all, you pick and choose roles that are diversely different. How do you do that?
Thanks for this compliment!! It feels so nice when you say this. When I know that a particular role is not part of me that is when I really go after it. I get more excited and nervous too. Nervousness is actually great for creativity. And then I want to explore and play the character.
Flesh is one of the recent series for Eros Now which is one such role. It was great fun to play a flesh trade owner. It was madness playing it. I learnt Bengali as the character has a Bangla accent. It is exciting that such roles are being made.
Just because Shweta is who she is, I played Yudi the way I thought of. If there was any other actress, I would not have had the same energy.
You are playing a man much older in Hum Tum. What made you experiment on such a role at this young age?
This is another stretch, you know. Who is going to cast me for an older role? Yudi is a carefree, fun-spirited, free guy who is 40 but has a heart of 18 years old. To play that kind of a livewire was real fun. I am very happy with the result. The series is doing really well. I have got good feedback for this series. I saw the series myself and it looks good.
How was it working with Shweta Tiwari in Hum Tum and Them?
The pairing with Shweta Tiwari brought in freshness. Our chemistry was the USP. Working with Shweta was great. She is the Queen of television. It was an honour to have worked with her. She comes from a different world, and I come from a different world. Our thought process is very different when it comes to working. Just because Shweta is who she is, I played Yudi the way I thought of. If there was any other actress, I would not have had the same energy. I love teasing her. I love making fun of her, and that is what this character does as well.
You have Magic lined up on MX Player. How is that role?
Magic is just MAGIC!! There are few projects that have come in my life, wherein I just did not care about the result. There have been just 2-3 of them in my life. And Magic is one of them. The experience of making it and being part of it is more satisfying than thinking about what the outcome will be, and how will fans take it are now out of the window. It is just a very good piece of work by a brilliant team. The story is so fascinating and well-boiled. This is going to be a very interesting one.
Akshay Oberoi, you are also shooting for a few big films. Any detail on that.
Yes, I am shooting for KTina with Disha Patani. It is a Balaji Motion Picture film. Thanks to Ekta Kapoor for this film. I hear it was because of Hum Tum And Them that she chose me for this.
I am also shooting for Subhash Kapoor’s film Madam CM, with Richa Chaddha, Manav Kaul and Saurabh Shukla.
I was also shooting for a South Indian remake Thiruttu Payale 2 in Hindi with Vineet Kumar. I play a villain here and it was great fun playing the baddie.
If I was not acting, I would have been an unhappy human being.
You have grown as an actor. What is it that you cherish the most as an actor?
I would like to think that I have grown as an actor. I think I have. I have grown because some really good Directors have cast me for really good roles. Nothing has been a box-office success, but people have noticed the hard work I have put in. The digital stints helped too. In the stage I am currently in, there are enough eyeballs on me, right, but I am not in a phase where the stakes are really high. This allows me to experiment and pick the best. When you get into the A-list and budget movies, an actor cannot make a false step. This stage helps you learn more and I am cherishing it.
What is your forte as an actor, Akshay Oberoi?
I don’t know what my forte will be, but I will say that I love acting a lot. If I was not acting, I would have been an unhappy human being.
You have a good fan base. Tell us about your memorable fan moment.
There have been a lot. They have been touching and lovely. There is a lovely fan of mine. Ale is her name and she is from Morocco. Somehow she landed up in India and figured out where I lived. She left me a note at the café near which I was living, telling me that she came by to give it to me. She had kept a keychain and a lovely hand-written note. I never got to meet her and have chatted with her to thank her. It was indeed touching.
Do you have any regrets career-wise?
In the last couple of years, I have been working like a machine. I wish I was doing this earlier too. I think I was having a wrong notion for work when I started working. I think there were a few years in between where I should have kept working and would have gotten more experience. I think I have made up for that in the last couple of years. The hunger in me is there and I do not want to be unemployed ever again.
Akshay Oberoi, what are your future plans?
There are two more films coming up. I also want to spend some time at home. Not many would know that I have a two and half-year-old beautiful son. I want to spend a lot of time with him.
Is there a dream role?
There is no dream role as such, but I would like to be part of a period film. I want to be someone who I am not, and that will be a great challenge.
Are you open to TV offers?
Daily soaps are not what I look at. Versatility and playing multiple people is what I look at and TV is like living one character for multiple years. Web series is fun and I enjoy.
Message to your fans, Akshay Oberoi.
All of you have been very supportive and kind. I love the way they have been with me through the years. I feel very blessed.