When one meets Suresh Oberoi, he or she always waits for the moment when Oberoi will say something.
Anything he says becomes special, owing to the amazing, resonating quality of his voice — a rich voice that makes him stand apart from all his contemporaries. His voice can have a mesmerising effect on audiences irrespective of whether the character is a positive one, or a negative one.
Other actors – Prithviraj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Amrish Puri, Raza Muraad, Om Puri and Kabir Bedi – have had the same gift. However, Suresh Oberoi’s voice does not seem to have a match!
Here’s looking at the actor’s life and work on his birthday — December 17.
In his debut film Ek Baar Phir(1980), his character had grey shades, and he played the role of a flamboyant and flirtatious actor (Mahendar Kumar) to perfection.
The film was ahead of its times and, thus, not a commercial success.
Suresh Oberoi's debut was not remarkable, but he was. (Photo: YouTube)
However, it was a well-made film that would have been accepted happily by the audiences today.
Oberoi made his presence strongly felt in the industry and his voice played an important role in ensuring this.
His role in Coolie (1983) is still remembered.
In 1985, came Aitbaar, which saw Oberoi in a very beautiful and gentle role of a ghazal singer. Dimple Kapadia and Raj Babbar acted with him. It was a murder mystery and was quite a success. The ghazal sung by Bhupendra Singh and Asha Bhosle – Kissi Nazar ko Tera Intezaar Aaj bhi hai is as fresh today as it then was.
An unforgettable poetic and musical gem.
Aitbaar was a poetic and musical gem. (Photo: YouTube)
Mirch Masala (1987) had Oberoi playing the role of the village Mukhia for which he won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The depth that Oberoi brings to all his roles — positive or negative — comes from the real struggles he underwent (first, as a child after his family came to Hyderabad from Quetta during the Partition, and then, while trying to establish himself as an actor in an industry where he had no Godfather).
Early in his career, he was a model, promoting various products. Then he worked for radio —where his special voice was greatly appreciated. Tragedies in his life, like the death of his elder brother in an accident, made him stay away from the films for a while.
However, nothing could stop him. His perseverance and moral courage helped him carry on and, for the past four decades, he remained one of the most successful actors of our film industry.
His role in Raja Hindustani was not something he had done before. (Photo: YouTube)
In Raja Hindustani (1996), his role as Karishma Kapoor’s father was a far cry from the intimidating villains he had played before. The gentle emotions he showed in this role won over the hearts of the audiences.
In Dil ka Kya Kasoor (1992), he plays the loving and concerned elder brother of Divya Bharti whom she addresses as “Babuji” in the film — again, a beautiful performance. His versatility is beyond doubt. Whether he plays a cop or a villain, he is always convincing and real. His command over Hindi, English, Urdu and some other languages has enriched him as an artiste.
In the serial, Kashmeer, telecast by Star Plus in 2003, Suresh Oberoi essayed an unforgettable role of Dr Ashfaqullah Wani. It was during the shooting of this serial that I met this accomplished actor in Dehradun, as a journalist. I came to know about his love for Urdu and Urdu poetry during my interaction with him. Also, about his deep interest in spirituality, which he has been pursuing since long.
Suresh Oberoi (Left) with Raj Babbar and director Mukul Anand on the sets of Aitbaar. (Photo: Twitter/Film History Pics)
We now see him in conversation with the Brahmakumaris on various spiritual aspects of life. We will soon see him as Peshwa Bajirao, the second, in the upcoming film Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi. His look in the film is awesome. Whether it is acting in a film or lending his voice to any project, whether it is a TV serial or a spiritual programme — Suresh Oberoi has always believed in giving it all his focus and energy.
Stability, calmness, goodness, maturity and a marked spiritual dimension make this man the man he is and the actor he is. And all this he has passed on to his son, Vivek.
This man with a deep sense of reality can bring anyone down to earth with his groundedness. Many a lesson can be learnt from him, if one gets to meet him and listen to his views and beliefs. He is not just the one with the magical voice. He has a magical and inspiring presence both on screen and off screen.
Here’s wishing Suresh Oberoi a happy birthday and many more to come. His fans want to see him in many more films.