Curious case of Nitin Gupta (Rivaldo)
While in the final year of college and still lost in life searching for what to do with it, Nitin Gupta (Rivaldo) decided to escape the inevitable pain of job life and he quite frankly admits that standup comedy was not what came to him all of a sudden but he struck the idea because he wanted to do something that he might like.
He chose a path which even after his so far successful and encouraging example, one would think twice to take. Quite appropriately he says “It was not love at first sight but probably love at second thought.” Now, he is well known for directing and acting in the play “Love in December” and quite recently for thrashing the Gandhi family by his famous note, ‘The Curious Case of Rahul Gandhi’.
After chemical engineering from IIT Bombay, Nitin took a job just to show his father that he was able to get one and for some time taught in a coaching institute and even wrote for television soaps which were all flops before going head-on to take up standup comedy as his career.
In September 2009 while enjoying in Rendezvous, the cultural festival of IIT Delhi, Rivaldo made a performance of 20 minutes in the interval between the plays. Audience liked it and in October 2009, Engineers Entertainment was formalized. He made his first appearance in IITKgp with the help of his friend and played Love in December. Second show was in MNIT Jaipur and they did the same play. Gradually he presented the audience with a mixture of Love in December and stand-ups and in the first year he managed to get 13-14 shows. It was the play that got him popularity but soon he established himself as a stand-up comedian in the college circles.
Well, this was something that I’ve always liked. I’ve always been shy. I thought the stage would help me overcome my shyness. That’s how I got into acting. Over time, I lost my inhibitions. But, I also realized that one is a different person on-stage and off it.
Standup comedy existed in India in terms of kavis like Surendra Sharma then the show laughter challenge created a new genre but it came down soon. That gradually is changing with different flavour of standups coming. There is an upsurge of English comedy, not the language English but the taste English. Monetization is of course a problem but it is also because there are not enough good people.
He turned down offer from Laughter Challenge because he did not want to create the image for himself that the show wanted him to.
At the time of writing this article, the team of EE has performed about 50 Concerts in IIT’s, IIM’s, TED Talks, and Fortune 500 Companies. Future plans include getting into advertisements, a small budget movie called “The Guy Next Door” but above all Rivaldo says he wants to increase his company’s Map Capital on Google Maps. Refusing many offers from Bollywood, he seems to be in no hurry to make a movie on the cult play Love in December. He wants it to be their home production.
About the challenges he faced he says, “The main challenge was convincing my parents, since this was a very unconventional field. For them, venturing into Stand Up Comedy was an equivalent of career-suicide. It was like getting on a treadmill to oblivion. The market was small, almost non-existent. So my parents or my ‘angel investors’, as I’d like to call them, had genuine concerns about their Stock, that is: me.”
To the entrepreneurs
He says “Entrepreneurship is like falling in love. There are no rules. You just have to pursue it relentlessly.”
His views about alma mater IIT are worth taking a bow. Once when asked in an interview “Does Entertainment Engineers market itself with a tag of being IITians?” he said,
“Most people knew about our educational background before we started performing Stand up concerts in campuses. Thanks to Love in December. So we never had to use the tag of IIT per se. Also since we are talking about it. We don’t think of IIT as a tag, we like to think of IIT as a Culture, as an aperture which gave us a sneak peek into the real world. IIT is a legacy of people starting from Pandit Nehru to icons like Mr. Murthy, and Vinod Khosla and innumerable other giants. It’s a legacy to which we are yet to contribute. So we never use it as a marketing tool. For we are not worthy of being called IITians until we contribute to that legacy. So, in my humble opinion, using IIT as a mere marketing tool would be too trivial.”
We wish, in times to come, the Chief Entertainment officer of EE have a global footprint on Google maps.