“More Than The Role Being A Challenging One, What Challenged Me Was The Fact That A Director Like Mani Ratnam Cast Me So Early In My Nascent Career”

June 12th, 2010 - 4:55 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

June 12, 2010 (Sampurn Wire): As the release date of Raavan nears, Nikhil Dwivedi takes time out to tell Jyothi Venkatesh his reason of lying low after My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves. Though he did receive a lot of offers, it seems that he did not want to be a part of something which will embarrass him, that too after his first film has flopped

Though he has been pitted with a host of scene stealers like Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Vikram, Govinda etc in Mani Ratnam’s Raavan, Nikhil Dwivedi is confident that he will be able to leave his own individual stamp as an actor in the film. “I play the role of an upright police officer called Hemant Sinha, who is so idealistic that he feels that his job is to correct the society and cleanse it of criminals and to ensure that it is crime free, says Nikhil Dwivedi as he plonks himself opposite me at the coffee shop in Novotel where I met him for this interview over grilled sandwiches and cold coffee.

Vikram plays his superior officer Dev, who is the SSP while Nikhil is the DSP, his junior. “I idolize my superior and feel that he will be instrumental in ensuring that good prevails over evil. More than the role being a challenging one, the fact that a director like Mani Ratnam had cast me so early in my career proved to be more challenging me,” quips Nikhil, with a twinkle in his eye.

Nikhil adds. “The film is set in modern times. I wanted to stop at nothing in order to do justice to the vision that Mani Sir had for my character. I gained around five kilos in just three weeks to look like a cop. This was for getting into the skin of my character. I grew my moustache and worked on my body language and tried to deliver exactly what the director wanted.”

Nikhil hastens to add that in effect he did not prepare for his role at all because he knew that he was safe in Mani Ratnam’s hands as an actor. “I did not want to come with any pre- conceived notions about my character which could have clashed with the director’s vision. Mani Sir let me interpret my role after giving me the outline of the character.”

Nikhil reiterates that he had given given 200 days of his life for Raavan. “Mani Sir has the reputation because he is brilliant. The way he explains the craft by giving you the similarity of the situation and asking you what you would have done in a similar situation is his forte as a director. Mani Sir does not act it out but lets the actor interpret his vision in a way he deems fit. He is a great director who is a man of few words and prefers to let his film speak for itself.”

NIkhil is brutally frank when I ask him why he had been lying low after the release of his debut film My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves. “My first film as an actor did not work at the box office. There was a lull as far as my career was concerned because I could not sell the tickets at the box office and pull in the crowds. It is not that I stopped getting offers. It is just that I did not want to be part of a work which would embarrass me as an actor.”

Nikhil continues. “It does take time to find a foothold again especially after delivering a flop. I waited patiently for the right time. It was a trying time but I could not do anything about it and twiddle my thumbs patiently. The flopping of My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves taught me the business aspect of a film and I realized how, important it is to market your film. All said and done, I am not at all ashamed of my debut film, because it has given me legitimacy as an actor. I did not choose my first film. It chose me. I had wanted to be an actor ever since I was a child and it was E. Niwas who helped me realize my dream.”

Nikhil is practical. “I have absolutely no qualms at all in stating that Raavan is not my film. It is Abhishek Bachchan’s film which has a stellar cast of Vikram, Aishwarya Rai and Govinda. I just follow. I’d like to think that among the strugglers, I am No 1, because I have always tried to be an achiever. It is not just about stardom or adulation. Right now I am just making my way up. My first film has taught me that it is very difficult to predict how a film is going to fare at the box office, but I have put in my best as an actor in Raavan and I hope that I have been able to deliver the character correctly.”

Nikhil is right has films like Shashank Shah’s Matric Pass in his kitty, in which he is plays the role of an auto rickshaw driver, who decides to go to school to pass his matriculation because he has fallen in love with an educated elite city girl and Shor with Tusshar Kapoor and Senthil Ramamoorthy, which is being directed by Raj Nidimoru and D.K. Krishna ( who had earlier directed the film 99) for Balaji. “I play the role of a street goon in the film”, he adds.

Then there is his next flick, Basra, produced by Abhay Deol, who is also acting in the film along with Nikhil, for which he will not be taking up just guns since he plays a Maharashtrian narcotics cop but also the six string as he plays a musician too. The film directed by Navdeep Singh, of Manorama Six Feet Under fame, is a city-based edgy thriller based on human trafficking and drugs peddlers and has Chitrangda Singh and Shanana Goswami as his co-actors, besides Abhay. “I think it is the last in the series of films which will see me as a cop”, he wise-cracks.

Looks like Nikhil believes in method acting too. “For the role of the musician, I have been learning to play the guitar from Crosby Fernandes, who is the bass guitarist for the Mumbai based classic rock band “Para Vayu’. The band has been one of the most popular ones since its inception in 1997, when they started out with the name Vayu. Crosby, himself has been part of many good rock and fusion bands for years now.

-Jyothi Venkatesh /Sampurn Wire

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