As the debate of nepotism rocks the film industry, Karan Bhardwaj chats with promising actor Akshay Oberoi, who is striving to get good work that he believes in. Gurgaon in his next film.
Fearing probability of being typecast or lacking courage to take risks, most young actors, who want to be the next ‘Khan’ in the film industry, avoid playing negative characters in the initial years of their career. But Akshay Oberoi falls in the rare category of talent which’s not afraid of experimenting on the celluloid. Take one glance at him, and you can easily pass him off as a star material. However, Akshay, who is gradually making his presence felt with films like Piku, Fitoor and Laal Rang, is taking the road-less travelled. In his next flick, Gurgaon, a noir thriller, the actor is playing a character with grey shades. “I heard a few actors turned down this role. In fact, I don’t have a godfather in the industry and a lot of people also advised me not to take it up. But for me, darker it is, better it is (laughs). I don’t want to be stereotyped. For me, acting is a mode of expression and I want to express in my fullest capacity,” he tells Born of Web over the phone.
The actor is pleasantly unconventional in his conversations as much as his films. “I am glad that I am getting good films to be a part of. I may be less popular. But that’s okay! I am not out there to earn billions and earn bungalows. As long as I have enough to survive, I am fine. I just want to be a part of good scripts,” he says.
Akshay believes that good work may get acknowledgement late but never goes unnoticed. He pops up his recent chat with Saif Ali Khan on the same subject during the shoot of Kaalakaandi. “Saif is really honest. He was sitting around and we began to discuss films and career. He said to me, ‘even if it is one scene and cameo, people do notice good work’. I think people are noticing my improvement as an actor,” he says.
Akshay’s a cousin of Vivek Oberoi but in a different interview, he admitted on not being on talking terms with the extended family. He says he has not sought any support from anybody nor he is knocking doors of the producers to get work. “I am seeking meaningful work. I would really be inspired to be a part of big movies that can whet my appetite as an artist. Big productions houses have not approached me so far,” he clears it out.
Akshay is an ardent student of cinema and it can be gauged by his professional training in India and abroad. A theatre enthusiast, he has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts and Economics at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He also enrolled in Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York, followed by Playhouse West in Los Angeles. And that’s not enough! He has studied hip-hop dance and jazz at Broadway Dance Center. But it was John Astin’s advice that got Akshay into theatre. “After I finished my course under John Astin, he told me I was not yet prepared and needed more polishing. So I came back to Mumbai and resumed theatre,” he recalls, adding that it was father who inspired him to learn acting under professionals. “When father learnt about my determination to act in movies, he told me it’s not in anybody’s hands to be a star but one can be a good actor by learning and practising the art. So I decided to be a student of cinema,” he says.
As Gurgaon nears its release (August 4), Akshay is confident of good feedback. “For me, it’s difficult to sell a film that sucks. But we have shown Gurgaon in film festivals where it received fabulous response,” he informs. All the best, Akshay, and the entire team of Gurgaon!
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