Readers may recall that in 2003, Vivek Oberoi called a press conference and accused Salman Khan of threatening him over the phone because of his alleged relationship with Aishwarya Rai, who was Salman's ex-girlfriend at the time. Vivek claimed that Salman had called him over 41 times and had used abusive language, and even threatened to kill him. Though both Salman and Vivek have moved on from the incident, the latter recently spoke about it and stated that he “survived a trial by fire.”“I survived trial by fire,” says Vivek Oberoi, sheds light on the dark side of Bollywood; calls Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ remark “inspirational” and “magical”
It all happened during his conversation with Hindustan Times, where Vivek acknowledged that the film industry has a “dark side” of bullying and lobbying. Vivek shared his personal journey in response to fellow actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ recent comments about facing obstacles in the Hindi film industry, which led her to seek work opportunities in the West after being excluded from film projects.
Vivek was quoted saying, “In hindsight, I went through a lot of stuff that was unnecessary. A lot of lobbies, a lot of repressive stories - kind of what Priyanka has been alluding to also. That’s been a hallmark of our industry, unfortunately. It’s been one of the dark sides of our industry. And I’ve been on the receiving end of it. I know how frustrating it is, it can make one feel extremely exhausted and tired.”
Elaborating further, Vivek added, “You feel like, I’ve just delivered an award-winning, commercially successful performance in Shootout At Lokhandwala and after that, I’m sitting at home for 14 months, not getting any work. When I went through that, I kept thinking, I want to do something beyond, I wanna do something empowering, something that takes me beyond that.”
He explained, “Priyanka’s latest statement is so inspirational in terms of finding a new space. She went out and explored something different and got out of a rut, and something magical happened for her personally and professionally.”
As the conversation progressed, the Bank Chor actor asserted, “The industry is a very insecure place. Artists by nature live in a very fragile state because they’re more vulnerable. Whether it was the MeToo movement, the casting couch, or just bullying, lobbying - all of these things take the joy out of creativity. I’m glad these things are being spoken about and slowly will go away.”
In his subtle comment on the press conference incident, Oberoi said, “Back in the day when I voiced against it, every ‘well wisher’ would call me up and say, ‘Don’t talk about it. It is like a family secret’. But if you have abuse going on in the family and you don’t speak up about it because it’s a family secret? That’s stupid. How will the abuse get fixed? So, it’s a systemic issue in the industry which is getting better. People are being more vocal.”
He then added, “There is more decentralisation of power. Less and less people can play God and the fans are now aware. Sushant (Singh Rajput, late actor) should have never lost his life no matter what. It’s just so sad. What a talented young guy and he should have had a better network of friends. You call the industry a family, then the family should be there for each other.”
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