Nikhil Dwivedi: No insider sabotaged my success in Bollywood
The actor, who plays a pivotal role in the latest Sony LIV hit series, Scam 1992, speaks about his role in the series, being an outsider in Bollywood, and about the upcoming Nagin trilogy
The 1983 World Cup-winning Indian Cricket Team – that’s what actor Nikhil Dwivedi likens the cast and crew of Hansal Mehta’s Scam 1992 to. “I’ve never seen a coming together of such forces, and each of them gave their maximum output.” The cast of the Sony LIV series ranges from the relatively new Pratik Gandhi to a seasoned Rajat Kapoor, and the show has an IMDB rating of 9.6. About the hugely positive reception, Nikhil says, “All of us expected a good reception to the series, but none of us expected that it’d be this big.”
While Nikhil’s finance MBA background helped in portraying Tyagi, the head of a despotic money market cartel, he says an actor cannot always depend on such real-life experiences when bringing a character to life. “If I play a doctor tomorrow, I don’t have to learn medical sciences. It’s more important to understand what the doctor goes through, what his emotions will be while treating a patient, etc – that’s the actor’s job.”
In the series, Tyagi doesn’t come across as just another black-or-white character, but rather as the ruthless opponent to a larger-than-life anti-hero. Nikhil says he didn’t see the banker as an antagonist or a protagonist. “Tyagi’s arrogance comes from the kind of success he has had. He also has a chip on his shoulder due to coming from a certain background – which he calls ‘pedigree’ – and he doesn’t want others to enter their circle. He isn’t truly evil – he is just a hard-core, ruthless man, and a cool investment banker.”
Unlike the money market cartel from the series, Nikhil feels Bollywood has no issues with outsiders. The actor has been vocal about his view in this recurring topic of debate, and being “an outsider who is now inside,” he feels that he’s the right example for it.
“Nobody stopped me from coming in. My movies didn’t do well because they didn’t do well. No insider sabotaged my success. Had I been successful, Bollywood would have definitely embraced me with open arms,” he says. Bollywood, he believes, prioritises ‘success’, and not whether someone is an insider. Nikhil even goes to the extent of citing his own flops to support his argument and says the poor quality of the scripts were a reason for his fruitless career trajectory, while his background wasn't.
“This is an extraordinary profession, where the dividends that one gets upon success are so huge, that the success rate is going to be very minuscule. There is a larger number of unsuccessful people than successful, but that doesn’t mean all the unsuccessful ones should get together and start blaming those who've made it.”
Nikhil also feels that Bollywood is being unnecessarily victimised by politics. “The Hindi movie industry is often seen as a source of power, and who wouldn’t like to control that? The last few months have been extremely unfair to the movie industry.”
Even as the future of actor Nikhil is still unclear, producer Nikhil Dwivedi is busy with his ongoing production of a Nagin trilogy, which is set to be directed by Vishal Furia. About this project, he says, “I often see these western superhero characters and wonder why we don’t have one of our own, borrowed from our traditional folklore. And the most organic woman superhero character that came to my mind was Nagin. She has a fascinating superpower – she can take any form she wishes.”
Vishal and Nikhil have been clear about casting Shraddha Kapoor in the role of Nagin, but he says that the idea of making it as a trilogy only came later. Can producer Nikhil pull off such an ambitious project? Well, he is Hansal Mehta’s Tyagi, after all.