From The Brand Ambassador (Model) For A Soap To The Father Of Vivek Oberoi (Pm Narendra Modi)
I first saw him in an ad for what I think was the Lifebuoy or Sunlight soap. He was also a model for many other of the not so well-known products, but he was robustly handsome and had a very rich voice.
He was one of the two heroes in Vinod Pande’s“Ek Baar Phir”in which Pradeep Verma and Deepti Naval from America had also made their debut in a very sensitive film and he made a mark by playing a star in the film. He and Deepti were the only ones who could take advantage of the film to get more assignments.
He used to live as a paying guest in Four Bungalows and had to live in what looked like a kitchen who was converted into a room.
He came to see me in my office and we then had regular meetings in his PG room. He had an old black Fiat and I used to call him to the Moti Mahal Hotel outside the Andheri station and there were times when I kept him waiting for more than two hours and he kept waiting and the same story was repeated everytime we had to meet. I couldn’t help it because I had to come all the way from Nariman Point and then had to take a crowded train to reach Andheri station in time which was never possible and he who was still a newcomer struggling to find good roles could not afford to get angry with me or even if he did, he couldn’t show it to me. I still remember the Indian rum and th food he cooked himself.
He gradually made it and found good character roles to play and had the opportunity to change from a PG accommodation to a one-bedroom flat and things started growing better for him.
It was only when he established himself that he brought his sweet wife, Yashoda to Bombay. I came to know that his family had a medical store in Hyderabad which was looked after by his brother and other members of the family.
He was first recognised in a big way when he played the ruthless villain in Anil Sharma’s first film as a director, “Shraddhanjali”with Raakhee as the lead start. His career looked up after this film.
He was soon the father of two kids, a boy called Vivek and a girl called Meghna. I used to often see him with his little son Vivek at the Juhu Club near the Juhu Church and he told me he was interested in making his son an actor to fulfill the dreams he couldn’t.
He kept growing bigger, he moved into a bungalow called “Golden Acres”and the man who had no place to live in, now made people take permission to enter his house where he used to sit in his shorts and a vest. His only interest now was to see that Vivek became an actor.
But life was not always smooth. He had hired the driver who was once the chaffeur of the legendary Guru Dutt who was now growing in age. It was while they were driving back home from Hyderabad that the car met with a ghastly accident and Suresh took to heavy drinking to forget memories of the accident.
There was, I think only one time when he got into some kind of a controversy. He was shooting in Baroda with the popular actress from the South, Swapna and was supposed to do a romantic scene with her. But the actress accused him of molesting her and trying to kiss her during the scene. There was quite a controversy about her charges against him, but the story even died fast.
He had perhaps his best character roles in which he played a handicapped man with Preeti Sapru as his sister. His role was appreciated and his voice matched with the voice of Amitabh Bachchan which even made Shashi Kapoor once say in his presence, “aajkal jo bhi gala phaad phaad kar chilaata hai, woh samajhta hai ki woh Amitabh Bachchan ban jaayegi”.
Vivek kept growing and finally landed up playing the hero in films made by directors like Subhash Ghai and Ram Gopal Varma and his work was appreciated. He was also nominated for several major awards.
Suresh, in the meanwhile had taken some kind of retirement and spent all his time guiding Vivek in his career. He had almost given up working.
He is now one of the producers of“Pm Narendra Modi”. I don’t know if he will continue making films, but I know that he will always stand by Vivek at all times and in all times of crisis in his career.
Suresh makes me wonder if the Suresh Oberoi I see as a follower of the Brahmakumari group of sisters in white who preach the philosophy of life and Suresh, the ruthless villain of so many films, sits with them and listens to then quietly and shakes his head in understanding what they say about life. He reminds me of the days of the late Pran Saahab, one of the greatest ever villains, sitting in prayer with a group of women in his house and observing the satsang.
I always believe that it is his screne looking wife who is all grey now and looks much more graceful has played a very vital part in the lives of Suresh and now Vivek.
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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Vivek Oberoi, Suresh Oberoi, Pm Narendra Modi, Brand Ambassador