Vivek's second innings

LIKE A Phoenix rising from the ashes, Vivek Oberoi is making a comeback in Bollywood, and what's nice is that the industry (which believes in no permanent friends, no permanent foes) is giving him a second chance.

"I lost my focus in between," admits the actor, "my dedication and was hugely distracted. I had never seen that kind of money, fame and a relationship that was bigger than I could imagine. I became arrogant, I was a victim of star trappings, I behaved ostrich-like, always hiding from my own wrongdoings."

But after Shootout at Lokhandwala last year, Vivek took a fourmonths' break. "I went into atonement," he says, "I realised I had hit rock bottom and couldn't go below that. I could only rise. That's when I sent thank-you messages to everybody who had stood by me and said sorry to those I had offended."

Clearly, not everybody has let bygones be bygones. Like Salman Khan. "I did my bit, I asked for forgiveness, and it's people's prerogative to take it from there. Salman's taking his own sweet time, which is fair, I hold nothing against anyone."

What about Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, has he since then come face-to-face with her? "There hasn't been so dramatic a situation. But I met the Bachchans in Bangkok. They were more than sweet to me. Mr. Bachchan complimented me on my performance at the awards function there."

He believes he has just ended a karmic cycle. "Now it's time to be myself. The industry is looking at me with a new, warm and friendly feeling, which is so inspiring," he says.

Is he willing to risk falling in love again? "My last relationship left me scarred, I didn't know how to handle myself, I goofed up big time," Vivek admits. "The girl I love becomes the centre of my universe and at this point, I don't want to distract myself from it, I want to focus on my career and have good films at hand. But you never know with love, life's unpredictable, and that's scary."

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