Vivek Oberoi, Bollywood Actor

Vivek Oberoi, Bollywood Actor

Asit Dixit and Umesh Patil |
February 19, 2019

“Ye window kya rahega … kitne mahine ke liye karna hai (What will be this window … how many months I will have to do it).”

Born to Bollywood actor Suresh Oberoi, Vivek began his acting career with Ram Gopal Verma’s super-hit crime drama Company in 2002. In a one-and-half-decade long career, Vivek has acted in about 20 Bollywood and regional language films which have brought him both accolades and recognition. But more than an actor, he is known for his philanthropic work. No wonder if 20 lakh people follow him on Twitter, 99,000 on Facebook and about 4 lakh on Instagram. Vivek spoke to the Cobrapost team on the sidelines of a film shooting at Madh in Mumbai.

Vivek already knows why we are there as he has been briefed by the agent. So, when we meet him, he tells us, “Unhone bataaya mujhe maine kaha bilkul theek toh koi diqqat toh hai nahi aap formalities conclude kar lo uske baad jaise aap batayenge waisa karenge (He had told me about it. I said all right, there is no problem. You may first conclude formalities after which I will do what you suggest).” This sets the tone of our interaction with the actor.

We would like to make the concept clear to you, we say. “Haan, haan sure … clear kar dijiye (Yes, yes, sure. … make it clear to me),” says the actor, encouragingly. We quickly give him a brief: our company has been tasked by the BJP to enroll celebrities to help promote it on social media in the run-up to 2019 elections. You see many a time opposition parties rake up issues to corner the government. But if a celebrity posts a message defending the government, it helps create a positive image of the government among the general public. This is why we want to employ celebrities like you for the job. What you have to do is praise the good works done by the BJP government in the past four years or so, such as Beti Bachao Beti Parhao. Vivek begins to name all those schemes that the BJP government has launched all these years to finally ask, “Aap data wagaireh bhi denge na (You will provide me the data)?” Yes, we will provide the content with all the data, we assure him. “Fir data ke hissab se hum likh sakte hain … aisa lagna nahi chahiye ki humein bola gaya hai likhne ke liye … lagna aisa chahiye ki hum khud hee likh rahe hain … lagna aisa chahiye ki hum genuinely bol rahe hain … aur real kaam kiya toh jo real kaam kiya hai wahi hum likhenge baaki toh hum kuch likhenge nahi … jhooth toh hum likhenge nahi (So, I can write according to the available data … it should not look like that I have been asked to write that … rather, it should look like that I am writing it on my own … it should look like I am writing it genuinely … and then I will be writing on real work that has been done. I will not write about anything else other than the real work done. I will not write anything false),” the actor says. Vivek does not need any tutoring, apparently.

We again tell him that we would provide him the content along with facts and figures. But he has to keep it discreet, without naming any politician or political party. There is no need to criticize any opposition leader, either. You have to appreciate only good works of the government. You also have to defend the government on issues on which the opposition corners the government, such as surgical strike, demonetization and GST. “Saare platform milaakar apne kareeb 25–30 lakh direct followers hain aur unka jo retweet aur ripple effect aata hai wo kareeban do-dhai karod ke kareeban aata hai ten times aata hai … toh hum kar sakte hain … iski frequency kya hogi (I have 25–30 lakh direct followers in all platforms and their retweets make a ripple effect that goes to about 2–2.50 crore, about 10 times … so I can do that … what is its frequency),” Vivek informs us while agreeing to do what we ask him. You have to make hardly five Tweets a month, we tell him. “Ye kab se shuru hoga (When will it start),” he asks. It will start from the first week of September, we tell him.

Telling us that he would leave Mumbai in a few days, he asks us to expedite the formalities. Now, listen to what Vivek tells us to do next, “Toh main ye bol raha tha ki jaane se pehle aap ye formalities kar do taaki fir hum 1st September se karein kyonki iske baad hum jayenge Kerala, Kerala se hum jayenge Azerbaijan. Tweet toh hum kahin se bhi karenge but agar ye formalities close ho jaati hain toh humko bhi ek understanding bhi ho jaati hai. Ek aap baat kar lena saari aur baaki humko ek wo bhi de dein ki ye mudde hain … toh ye mudde ye facts ye figures toh ek docket bana ke de dein toh fir main, aap aur social media team humari milke iska phase out plan karenge ki bhai aaj ye topic kar rahe hain, ye topic kar rahe hain, ye topic kar rahe hain aur har hufte ka topic mahine ka mail kar denge chunk bhai ye mahine mein week 1, 2, 3, 4 mein in muddon ko uthayenge aur hum ye baat karenge (So, I would like to tell you to close the formalities before I leave so that I can start it from 1st September, because after that I would go to Kerala and from there to Azerbaijan. I can tweet from anywhere, but if you close these formalities, I would arrive at an understanding. [Turning to his manager]You can discuss it all with them and also give me a list of issues with facts and figures in the form of a docket. After that, I, you and my social media team will make a phase out [sic] plan; for instance, today we will cover this topic, and the topic to be covered every week, month you will mail me in a chunk, telling me we will be covering these issues in 1, 2, 3 and 4 week, we will talk about this issue).”

Finding him fully on board, we now move to discuss his fee and mode of payment. Here Vivek asks us, “Ye window kya rahega … kitne mahine ke liye karna hai (What will be this window … how many months I will have to do it).” There will be a contract, we tell him. Since it is a hidden agenda, we cannot put all these things in black and white. We will mention that you are endorsing a certain company product. “Toh fir endorsement fee toh hum monthly lete nahi hain toh aap monthly kaise doge aapko toh humko chunks mein manage karna padega (I don’t take endorsement fee on monthly basis. How will you pay me monthly, then? We will have to manage it in chunks),” he wonders. Offering him a solution to his quandary, we tell him we will pay up to 20 percent of his fee in white and we will pay him this part in advance for nine months together. The rest will be paid to him advance in cash every month. “Accha theek hai (Okay, that is fine),” says Vivek, assured.

When we ask him what would be his fee, Vivek says, “Nahi wo Kedar bhai batayenge aapko (No, that only Kedar bhai will tell you).”

So, to discuss his fee we turn to his manager Kedar. After some bargaining, we agree to pay Rs. 80 lakh a month and tell him that only 15 percent of this fee, that is Rs. 12 lakh, will be shown in agreement. Your boss will be paid the white component of Rs. 1.08 crore in advance for all nine months in once chunk. The cash component of Rs. 68 lakh would be paid every month in advance. “Theek hai (That if fine),” says Kedar. This settled, our interview comes to an end.

We had e-mailed a questionnaire to all these celebs to know what they would like to say on what we have revealed in our story. Click here to read the answers.

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