The hotelier and actor who parties with Bill Clinton, has modeled for 'Vogue', dated supermodel Giselle (that explains the G tattooed on his arm!) and Paris Hilton, and acted in 'One Dollar Curry', flew into New Delhi recently - to marry actress and former investment banker Priya Sachdev ...
It was far from a simple nuptial. The ceremonies lasted ten days and were spread across Mumbai, Udaipur and New Delhi, during which 600 guests from 26 countries flew in on chartered jets. Ask him about the different locales, and he quips, "Most of our guests flew in from different countries. This was their virgin trip to India and they were very enthusiastic about it. I wanted to show them around our country, and planned the venues for my functions accordingly."
Prior to a conversation with the former 'Manhattan playboy', I expected him to be a personification of a snobbish yuppie - but was in for a refreshing surprise. Behind the jet-setting lifestyle and the image of New York's 'hardest partying guy in a turban' is a hardworking young man whose ambition is to become the world's first Sikh billionaire. How does he intend to do it, I wonder? "I learnt some invaluable business rules at the Wharton Business School. Their teaching is ingrained in my mind - be passionate about your goal and be doggedly persistent in achieving it," he revealed. "I want to go down in history as the first Sikh billionaire in the world and I am working on getting there. My father has built the base and I will continue to expand the hotel group to the best of my ability. Hopefully, I should achieve my target within a year unless another Sikh beats me to it."
And what of his playboy image? "Hey, I was just enjoying life," he laughs sheepishly. Yet, life isn't all fun and games for him. There is a religious side to this young man. "I pray every single day and try to visit the Golden Temple each year. Since childhood, my parents taught me to pray everyday." Proud of being a Sikh, he has a few Sikh tattoos including those of Guru Gobind Singh and a 'kirpan'!
With his private life constantly in the media glare, doesn't it make him a bit uncomfortable? "Well, I am a private person but I do public things. I have made a wishful, willing decision to make myself vulnerable. If I'm going to use the media for certain things then it is only fair for the media to critique my actions. However, when it gets too personal or unethical, then it is wrong," is his take.
Coming back to his recent marriage, what were his views on love and marriage, I ask? "Love is a very important emotion and marriage is the most natural thing when you fall in love," disclosed Vikram. "In my opinion, once you fall in love, you should get married. I was a bit of a rake before I met Priya at a dinner hosted by Queenie Dhody in Mumbai. Few people know that it was my father who masterminded the whole gig. He called Queenie and Raja Dhody to look for a suitable girl, and they were convinced Priya and I would make the perfect couple. They introduced us at a small party hosted by them in Mumbai and insisted we exchange numbers. I took Priya out for dinner the next evening and we got along famously. Though I returned to the US and she remained in Mumbai, we would frequently meet in London. I came down to India in December 2004 and proposed to her."
After his experience shooting for ONE DOLLAR CURRY and EK AJNABEE, the die-hard Amitabh Bachchan fan says there is a world of difference between a Hollywood and a Bollywood production. "There is undoubtedly more creativity in Bollywood films. In big budget Hollywood films, if you cannot do certain stunts yourself, they will be computer generated. However, in India, the creativity factor is very high as the budgets are limited. Both the Indian films I have worked in had very small budgets, which inspired us to get creative."
Model, actor, entrepreneur, former playboy, spiritualist - this is how the world knows him. Who is the man behind the mask, I ask him before signing off? "I am a pretty simple guy. It is tough juggling modelling, acting and a being an hotelier - almost schizophrenic - but I do it since I am equally passionate about all three. Other than that, I love clubbing and Hip Hop."
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