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At heart, I am a naughty child: Vivek Oberoi

Thursday, June 21, 2018
By Chaitanya Padukone

“If you can tell a 'safed jhoot' convincingly, possibly you can be an actor,” quips effervescent star-actor Vivek Oberoi, who was appreciated in wacko comedy movies 'Bank Chor' and 'Great Grand Masti'. Having 'co-judged' the previous two shows of the widely-watched Zee TV reality show 'India's Best Dramebaaz', it's not surprising that acclaimed actor Vivek has been repeated in 'Season-3'. This time, the macho Oberoi will have for 'company' (that's his debut movie) the stunning, svelte Sonali Bendre-Behl and the new entrant judge, award-winning Bollywood director Omung Kumar (of 'Mary Kom' fame). The ultimate battle of histrionics i.e. 'Dramebaazi' will commence from June 30 and will be telecast every Saturday and Sunday at 9.00 pm on Zee TV.

The Afternoon D & C connected with the witty, outspoken social-welfare activist-crusader Vivek Oberoi for an exclusive conversation. Excerpts:

What are your apprehensions, this being your 'hat-trick' as the Zee 'IBD Dramebaaz' co-judge?
Actually my beloved 'biwi' Priya is more worried because I have agreed to judge the show for the third time. That's because we welcomed our first child, our son Vivaan, soon after I judged the first season and our daughter Ameyaa was born right after IBD's second edition. And now that I am part of the show for the third consecutive time, my wife is having her apprehensions (chuckles loudly). For me, it's a huge stress-buster, because I simply love kids and I enjoy interacting with them as they are all 'funky and nautanki'. Well, I too am a naughty child at heart.

What is your sentimental connect with the ‘IBD’ show?
It feels great to be associated with Zee's 'India's Best Dramebaaz' once again. The show is very close to my heart as I get to watch and mentor some of the best talents across the country. The show has already given us some young superstars and there are many such hidden gems who are yet to be discovered. More than mentoring and guiding the kids, I am looking forward to having lots of fun in the company of India's acting prodigies. This time we are also saluting 'young unsung heroes' who have done something 'extraordinary' for Indian society.

Tell us about your naya co-judge Omung Kumar – aren't you guys ragging him?
Haha, we also fondly tease Omung as 'are you OK', because those are his name initials, right! The presence of Omung will make a huge value addition, because he brings with him his valued experience of working with A-List stars and award-winning movies. At times, he does get emotional and is in a dilemma while evaluating the performance of kids. Incidentally, some 25 years ago Omung started his career as a live-wire host of  this Zee TV game-show called 'Just Ek Minute', which he hopes to revive. So it's a full circle for him.

How is your equation with Sonali Bendre-Behl?
It's amazing because we know each other as active Bollywood actors since so many years. Otherwise a frank, exuberant person, Sonali too is tearfully moved when she watches something that touches her emotionally. Even Sonali loves kids, because in real-life she is a doting mother.

What is it that you look for in the 'nanhe-munne-bachhe' participants?
As senior actors, and judges-mentors, Sonali and I tend to look for impressive, innovative talent, a confident performance and raw  passion – the overall 'X-factor' package that connects with you.

You prefer doing web-series and not fiction TV shows – why?
That's so true. Over the years I have been often offered fiction TV show roles which confine you, but I have declined them. Now I feel web-series on the dynamic digital medium offers me infinite scope for live instantaneity with a proactive connectivity with viewers. As you are aware, I am referring to my phenomenally popular cricket-centric  'Inside Edge' series and this time we are going 'international'. The new season will start shortly.

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