It almost didn't happen for the first debutant of 2008. Nikhil Dwivedi was almost ousted from his debut film My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves when the corporate house which director E Niwas approached to produce the film, insisted the director work with Vivek Oberoi instead of the newcomer.
When confronted with this historical trivia on the destiny of his debut Dwivedi demurs. "I wouldn't like to name anyone. But an actor who was very hot and happening a few years ago did want to do My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves My director Niwas was very clear that the script would only work with a newcomer, and that too me. He threw all caution to the winds and decided to produce Anthony on his own along with Sahara One," divulges Dwivedi who claims to be a die hard Bachchan fan.
"I remember as a child watching Mr Bachchan in Suhaag. Today it's a coincidence that my debut film gets its title from a popular song in a film featuring with Mr Bachchan. That isn't all. No one knows this. But I was actually supposed to make my debut with a small role that E Niwas had offered me in an Aftab Shivdasani - Esha Deol romance called Jaane Kaise Kab Kahan, again a song from a Bachchan flick. I love that title, and I've asked Niwas to give it to me for a future film," gushes the newcomer who claims to be finely... tuned to every detail about Hindi cinema.
Fortunately for Nikhil, he desisted from playing the bit role of Esha's fiance in the shelved film. "What has to happen will happen," philosophizes the youngster with oodles of confidence.
Nikhil plays a bartender and a Bollywood struggler in My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves. He's all praise for his co-star Amrita Rao. "Five years have passed since she came into the industry. Even today Amrita's hunger and anxiety to excel in every shot remains unchanged. I like that. Somewhere I too want to be insecure even after 25 films." In fact, Nikhil has already got three more films in his kitty. "One is a remake of Rahul Rawail's 1978 Sunny Deol starrer Arjun which Shivum Nair is directing and Anurag Kashyap is writing."
The original film about an unemployed youth being sucked politics and corruption is no longer valid. Kashyap is re-writing the script for Nikhil Dwivedi. "Unemployment is no longer a burning issue," opines Nikhil. "Today with so many avenues of work for youngsters like call centres, I think Arjun needed a new interpretation. Besides Arjun I have two other films to be produced by K Sera Sera and Sahara One."
Nikhil Dwivedi seems to have found the most appropriate godfather in Shahrukh Khan who apparently has taken the newcomer under his wings. Nikhil apparently hangs around Khan quite often. Surprisingly, the debutant pooh-poohs the sugar-daddy theory. "I think too much has been made of Shahrukh's interest in my career. It isn't even a fraction of what it's made out to be. Sure his company Red Chillies is the line producer of My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves. But that's because he believed in the project. Beyond that, Shahrukh's interest in me and my career is, I think, reasonable. He did release the music of my film. Wouldn't he do that for any newcomer who requests him to?"
Clearly this newcomer has his act together. "I'm aware that 2007 had a large number of commendable male newcomers. Should I be happy to be coming in 2008? I don't think so. Every film and actor have their own destiny. How I'm accepted by audiences doesn't depend on the competition but my intrinsic merits. I'll survive not because of competition or Shahrukh's backing but only if audiences approve of me"