Exclusive Interview with Vivek Oberoi

“Vivek Oberoi: ‘There’s more to my life than just films”

Vivek Oberoi, who’s hoping to enter the Guinness World Records with his mega-blood drive, talks about social issues he’s close to and why films and family are separate for him.

Vivek Oberoi is that rare Bollywood star who values happiness and personal satisfaction over popular success. A real hero, as they say, Vivek is gung-ho about his new initiative – a mega-blood donation drive all over India starting from Sept 6.

Along with his One foundation, Vivek, in association with Akhil Bhartiya Terapanth Yuvak Parishad (ABTYP) has organised the project targeting more than one lakh units of blood collection across multiple Indian cities.

As the actor prepares for the Big Day, he takes time out to talk to Bollywood Celebden about his latest pet cause, his upcoming thriller Bank Chor and more.

So, you’re hoping to create a world record on Sept 6 with this mega blood donation, are you?
It’s not for me. We, as Indians, are aiming to create a phenomenal world record by coming together in huge numbers for the cause of blood donation. When I spoke to my partners, we thought, ‘Why can’t we, as Indians, make it to the Guinness World Records?’ We managed to reach out to the Guinness guys. They have sent their observers. So, if all goes well, we should be able to make it to the records.

Can you tell us about the donation drive and what it’ll be like?
Basically, it’s to create awareness about blood donation. My foundation One and ABTYP have decided to do this across 300 cities, thereby creating 800 blood donation camps across India. We already have three lakh registered blood donors – mostly youth. More than one lakh are first-time blood donors. We are looking forward to a great event. I’m happy that we’ve managed to do all this without any cooperation from the state or administration. Those who’ve come forward have done so purely for humanitarian reasons.

You’ve been associated with cancer-affected patients for more than a decade and now, this mega-blood donation campaign. Do you have any other social causes in mind that you aim to take up next?
I think it’s all inter-connected. Just consider the 128 crore population of the country and imagine how many people on a daily basis would require blood for surgeries or for anything else. Blood donation is close to my heart. That’s why I wanted to do this event in a big way, not just for the sake of it but with a genuine intention. No less than the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) himself has praised our efforts. He sent us a letter, saying he’s proud of us.

How successful has been your mission to save cancer patients?
We’ve been fortunate enough to save two lakh patients over a period of 12 years. But we still don’t have adequate blood supply. Despite our huge population, India doesn’t have enough donors. People are not ready. Blood donation should be a culture, a habit like voting. It’s cool to vote. But, why isn’t it cool to donate blood? I don’t get it.

Last year was spectacular for you, with both Krrish 3 and Grand Masti being huge hits. What are you expecting from 2014?
(Laughs) Lot of fun and excitement. You should know that my life doesn’t only revolve around films. There’s more to it. A lot of people continue to do the same things all their lives. Not me. I’m fortunate to have a good family. We go out on holidays together. Of course, social causes give me immense satisfaction.

On a lighter note, the new mustache suits you.
(Laughs) It’s for my upcoming film, Bank Chor produced by Yash Raj Films. I play this stern CBI inspector who’s after the chor (thief) played by Riteish Deshmukh. A lot of people have said good things about my new look.

Recent reports suggest that producer Aditya Chopra barred you and Riteish from creative meetings related to the film as he didn’t want any information to be leaked. Is that true?
Rubbish. Ashish Patil from YRF has already clarified the matter.

Last thing: what’s the progress on Sanjay Gupta’s Mumbai Saga?
It’s very much happening. It’s again a very interesting role and I’m glad Sanjay is back with a power-packed script. It’s based on true events. I play an encounter specialist. I’m happy to work with such fine co-stars as Anil Kapoor, John Abraham and Manoj Bajpayee.

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