“We made Saif Ali Khan run topless” Vivek Oberoi on Omkara

Vishal Bharadwaj’s gritty crime drama Omkara, adapted from William Shakespeare’s play Othello, is still etched in people’s minds. The film starred Ajay Devgn Saif AliKhan, Vivek Oberoi, (left) and Kareena Kapoor Khan. The story revolved around how a politically-minded enforcer’s trust in his lieutenant led him to suspect his wife of infidelity. As the film celebrates its 11th anniversary today, we talk to Vivek about his experience of working in the film.

How did you prepare for the role of Kesu Firangi?
I didn’t do much for the role. My character had gone to college, and could speak English, so I got away by not learning the typical dialect that Ajay and Saif had to speak in.

How was your character (Kesu) different from Cassio’s character in the original Shakespeare play?
The play doesn’t explain the nature of relationship between Othello and Cassio. In the film, the relationship between Kesu and Omkara or Omi Bhaiya, as he calls him, is shown beautifully.

This was your fifth film with Ajay Devgn after you debuted with him in Company. Was it different shooting with him in Omkara?
By the time we shot for Omkara, Ajay had become like an elder brother to me. For Omkara, I was like his assistant when it came to playing pranks. We played one on Saif.

What did you guys do?
We were shooting for a scene in the Prayag temple, and we had heard that a few real ‘bahubalis’ [UP gangsters] wanted to “kidnap us”. So luckily, me and Ajay were done, and we were ready to leave on the chopper. Saif was yet to shoot his scenes, and we teased him saying things like “We are going yaar, our shoot is over.” We had just sat in the chopper, when we saw Saif bolting towards us, running topless in a dhoti! It was hilarious.


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