The Telegraph

​A smart comeback

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Director Nikhil Advani has had many ups and downs, but is now back in the reckoning with his new TV series P.O.W. and other upcoming films

My debut film Kal Ho Naa Ho threw me in the spotlight in 2003, but my biggest turning point was yet to come! The hard-hitting D-Day in 2013 starring Irrfan Khan and Arjun Rampal proved to be a huge milestone in my career as a filmmaker.

It was an important film for me as it established my credibility as a director. For, the industry had almost written me off after my debut film as I had delivered a series of flops thereafter. D-Day was indeed a difficult subject to handle as it revolved around the underworld and terrorism. But it was an honest project.

My tele-serial P.O.W. — Bandi Yuddh Ke that’s currently on air is loosely based on the popular Israeli television drama Hatufim. My serial is a political thriller about two soldiers who go missing after the 1999 Kargil war. It’s undoubtedly the most ambitious work that I have done so far, which makes it very special. The serial is not just about two prisoners of war, but also their wives, their families and the emotional turmoil that all of them go through. Human relationships and their sacrifices have always fascinated me as subjects for films. This serial, too, has been a new learning experience because we shoot a new episode every day.

Looking ahead, I’m kicked about my next film, Batla House, which is based on the 2008 Batla House encounter case. For two years I have been researching the subject along with writer Ritesh Shah. Once P.O.W. concludes in January 2017, I will take a short break and start shooting Batla House by March.

There’s another slice-of-life film which I’m producing called Lucknow Central directed by Ranjit Tiwari. The film revolves around the lives of the inmates of Lucknow Central Jail and how they overcome the travails of life imprisonment and eventually form a music band.

Although I’m known for my romantic comedies, it’s a genre that I want to steer clear of from now. In the past I have made several mistakes, including horrible films like Salaam-e-Ishq. It was a film that was made out of arrogance and spite because I felt that I wasn’t given my due for making Kal Ho Naa Ho. Some of my other failures were Chandni Chowk To China and, most recently, Hero — movies that were made for all the wrong reasons. I always examine my body of work, learn my lessons and move on.

Right now, I’m completely focused on P.O.W. and hope that my films in the coming days will prove to be significant milestones.

(As told to Sushmita Biswas)

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