Apparently, there is now a conflict of interests between Omi and his wife with Omi leaning more and more towards relocating to Mumbai. It's not easy being in a long-distance marriage even if you're enjoying huge stardom in one corner of the world. US-born Indian actor Omi who discovered unexpected stardom in Bollywood with 3 Idiots is now on to his second, third and fourth films - Madhur Bhandarkar's Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji, Abbas-Mustan's Players and now Rohit Dhawan's Desi Boyz.
Understandably he spends a lot of time in Mumbai now while his wife Minal continues to study and research in the US. Omi says it isn't an easy situation. "You need a lot of trust, love and confidence to keep a long-distance relationship going. Luckily we live in an era of instant communication. My wife is just a click or a beep away from me."
Omi"s wife must continue to live in the LA for at least the next two years until she completes here PhD on public health. Says the actor, "We try to stay connected constantly. Even when she's working and I am shooting, I keep the computer on so that I can see and feel her presence as she goes about her work. When we do meet, we make sure we use the time together as best as we can."
For Christmas, Omi took his wife to Jamaica. "Just the two of us, no one else. It was fun. There was no one there to recognize me. The trick is to enjoy the time together." As the assignments in Mumbai multiply, Omi's NRI status will gradually dissolve. Says the actor. "As a child I used to visit Mumbai every summer. I was seen as this weird Marathi kid with an American accent. Now I"m this weird Marathi grownup guy in Bollywood with an American accent."
More than his Hindi, Omi has been working on his Marathi for the sake of his own roots, as well as for Bhandarkar's film. "I play this Marathi guy. So I had to brush up my mother tongue. I am a Marathi. But if you ask me where I belong, I can't really answer that. I was born and brought up in LA. I am shooting Hindi films. But they don't keep me stationed in Mumbai. For Abbas-Mustan's Players, I leave for New Zealand next week. So I am pretty much a global citizen. A soothsayer had predicted I'd be living out of suitcases. It's now come true."
Home in Mumbai is Omi's grandfather's place. "The furniture architecture and ambience are so old-world, I feel I am back in the 1980s." Omi is delighted at the way his career is going. "I always wanted to be an actor. Ever since I remember, I've been acting. Now all these roles are coming way although I don't fit into the conventional hero's mould. Maybe because the unconventional has become the convention in Hindi films now."
Omi doesn't want to get repetitive with his roles. "I am not interested in the conventional part. I want to do roles that allow me to experiment. That's why I took on Desi Boyz."