I’ve been living with Arjun for so long not just because it’s a classic, but because I identify with him and realise that this is the only way I could vent against the system,” says Nikhil Dwivedi, who is gearing up for a remake of Rahul Rawail’s 1985 action thriller. “I don’t believe in debating on talk shows and don’t expect to get a ticket in the elections, so this is a medium through which I could express my frustration and urge people to rise up against the injustice around.”
The actor insists his Arjun is not a faithful remake, but a contemporary adaptation, and is directed by Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan. “The script’s 80 per cent complete and it should roll this year,” he says. “What I like best about Arjun is that he is an underdog. There is no seething anger in him. It’s the people around him who turn him into a rebel and a larger-than-life Robin Hood.”
The film Hate Story, which opened yesterday, has Nikhil in a sympathetic role. He admits he accepted the revenge drama because of Vikram Bhatt. “Even though my project with him fell through, Vikram introduced me to other producers and I’d have played a pole if he had asked me to. The role has shaped up well and I’m confident of being noticed,” says Nikhil, who turned down the baddie’s role because he wasn’t comfortable with the intimate scenes.
“Yes, it’s a bold film and will shock people, but it won’t make them squirm. Vivek (Agnihotri) directed it very clinically.”
Will he watch it with his wife and his parents? He retorts, “Why would I? Indians have been conditioned by our upbringing to not smoke or drink in front of our elders. It is a mark of respect that I would extend to other areas too.”
Not playing dawood
The buzz is that Nikhil is playing a don modelled on Dawood in his next film, Tamanchay. He insists it’s not true. “There’s a script called Captain that I’ve been approached for, in which the character is loosely modelled on Abu Salem, but I haven’t committed to it yet,” he clarifies, insisting that Tamanchay is an intense love story about petty criminals in UP. “It’s inspired by a real story that made it to the papers, but didn’t spark front page headlines, as we’ve not fictionalised anybody famous or from the underworld.”