From Theatre To Fighter: Akshay Oberoi’s Motivational Journey To Mainstream Bollywood

The High actor highlighted that despite his surname "Oberoi" which suggests affluence in the film industry, he came from a modest background with his father running a restaurant.

Akshay Oberoi, known for his roles in Sidharth Anand’s “Fighter” and the popular Jio Cinema web series “Illegal – Justice, Out of Order,” recently had a fun conversation with Lehren. During his chat with us, Oberoi talked about his career, sharing personal anecdotes and insights into his journey in the entertainment industry.

Akshay Oberoi revealed he was raised in New Jersey, where his family embraced a traditional “desi” lifestyle, enjoying Indian meals and having a close circle of Indian friends. Akshay further shared that he met his wife, Jyothi Vynatheya, at Newark Academy when they were 16 and 15 years old. Despite initial skepticism about his acting plans in India, she joined him in 2008 when he moved there to pursue his film career.

Oberoi began his career at the renowned Prithvi Theatre in Juhu under the guidance of Makrand Deshpande. Initially involved in backstage activities, Oberoi’s dedication caught Makrand’s attention. When asked if he felt disappointed about working backstage, Oberoi commented, “No, I never put my ego before anything. My craft and artistry have always come first.”

He added, “People used to say, looking at my face, that I look like the hero type, but I never approached my career in that way. I have built my career doing small roles and small things. So, I have always stayed grounded, my upbringing has kept me grounded.”

Oberoi made his film debut in Sooraj Barjatya’s “Isi Life Mein,” earning critical acclaim despite its commercial reception. He revealed that his backstage work caught the attention of PK Gupta from Rajshri Productions, leading to the opportunity. Oberoi eventually met Suraj Barjatya and underwent eight auditions before landing the lead role in his film “Isi Life Mein.”

Vivek initially celebrated and felt confident about landing a Rajshri film, but it turned out to be a box office disaster, he recounted, “Jis tarah vo film piti, jo failure tha us film ka, jis din vo film lagi theatre mein usi din utar gayi thi.”

He added, “The film didn’t succeed, and as I was saying, I don’t have any father or grandfather here. I mean, I had to run my house, I was married, so I went back to the theater and there was no money in the theater, then I got my second film, Pizza. So there was so much struggle, there was no struggle until I got my first film, the struggle started after my first film was released.”

Akshay highlighted that despite his surname “Oberoi,” which suggests affluence in the film industry, he came from a modest background with his father running a restaurant.

Oberoi kept his New Jersey upbringing hidden to avoid being judged as not “desi” enough for film roles. He saw his role in “Gurgaon” as a chance to prove his capability and worked diligently to embody the ‘desi’ persona. He added, “For ‘Gurgaon,’ I worked extensively on mastering the Haryanvi dialect, paying close attention to every detail, repeatedly studying the script.”

Talking about his experience working with Pankaj Tripathi in the film, Gurgoan, Akshay mentioned that after ‘cut,’ Pankaj Tripathi would lighten the mood on set by making everyone laugh and cracking jokes, ensuring an enjoyable atmosphere for all.

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