After TV actress Ankita Lokhande, who is onboard Krish’s Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi as Jhalkaribai, Mirror has learnt that Suresh Oberoi recently joined the cast to portray Peshwa Baji Rao II. Manikarnika’s father Moropant Tambe worked in the Peshwa’s Bithoor court. Suresh, whose last Hindi fi lm outing was Imtiaz Ali’s 2005 romcom Socha Na Tha with Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia, is happy to return to the screen with the fi lm produced by Kamal Jain and presented by Zee Studios.

“I was initially fascinated by another character but Krish said that given the way I sit, speak and behave, I am best suited to play the Peshwa. It’s a fantastic script. I was so excited that I even agreed to shave my head for the part. I had last done that 40 years ago, on a trip to Tirupati,” the 70-year-old actor said.

Prod him on his extended hiatus from films and he says, “Initially I was busy looking after Vivek’s (actor son) career. After working in more than 250 films, I wanted to slow down. I was also invloved with social work and enjoying golf and grandchildren,” Suresh laughs, admitting that he had even turned down a project Vivek had brought to him as he was preoccupied with other things at the time. “But fathers are always there for their sons so Vivek can come to me any time and if it’s good cinema, I’ll do it. For now, let me get used to working with youngsters of today.”

He is all praise for his son’s newest project, a show that revolves around cricket. “It’s become popular. I loved every frame. Everyone, right from Rati Agnihotri’s son (Tanuj Virwani), Bishan Singh Bedi’s son (Angad) and Suresh’s son (Vivek), are good in the show,” the Oberoi patriarch chuckles.

He is equally impressed with his soon-to-be co-star Kangana’s screen turns, especially in Anand L Rai’s Tanu Weds Manu Returns. “I have seen her double role in that film and I was convinced she belonged to the states where the story is set. I am a fan. That role must have required a lot of homework,” Suresh signs off by doffing his hat to the queen.

I was so excited about the project that I even agreed t o shave my head for the part. I had last done that 40 years ago on a trip to Tirupati – Suresh Oberoi