Viveik Oberoi banks on 'Omkara'

May 21, 2006 Saibal Chatterjee

Cannes, May 21 (IANS) From the unbridled buffoonery of the laboured "Pyaare Mohan" to the intensely solemn narrative ambience of Vishal Bhardwaj's upcoming "Omkara", an adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Othello", actor Viveik Oberoi has shifted gears in the hope of giving his somewhat stagnant career a bit of a fillip.

"Like any other kid in India, I grew up on a staple diet of Shakespeare," said the nattily attired Viveik in the course of a brief chat on a boat anchored in the Cannes quay.

"I even performed a few of his classic plays in school," he added.

So was Shakespeare's "Othello" tucked away somewhere at the back of his mind when he got down to essaying the role of Kesu, modelled on Casio, in "Omkara"?

"No, not really, I did not want to be too influenced by Shakespeare. I wanted to be free to add a dimension to it. This after all is Kesu's story, not Casio's," he explained.

"I see 'Omkara' as Vishal Bhardwaj's interpretation, and not an exact replica of the Shakespeare play. It is on the basis of that understanding that I approached my role in the film," he added.

"Omkara" is scheduled for commercial release on July 28 although the director appears to be just as keen to have the film premiered in a major international film festival.

"It was an absolute privilege to be a part, however small, of this project. It is a film and a role that I am really proud of. It could not have happened without Vishal's unique vision," said Viveik.

The actor will be back in a more mainstream Bollywood terrain in his next release, "Naksha", directed by first-timer Sachin Bajaj.

"It is an action-adventure flick... a sort of Manmohan-Desai-meets-India-Jones affair," said Viveik who also has Sajid Nadiadwala's "Fool and Final" in his kitty.

Viveik's previous attempt at being different in Sujoy Ghosh's "Home Delivery" did not exactly hit home.

"Omkara", by the look of it, has the potential of becoming the new mantra not just for Viveik, but also for all the other actors in the film.

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