Times Of India

Nikkhil Advani: Varanasi has a magnetic appeal even for a matlabi believer of God like me

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Known for films like 'Kal Ho Na Ho', 'Salaam- E- Ishq', 'Patiala House' and more recently 'Hero' and 'Katti Batti', Bollywood film director Nikhil Advani was in Varanasi in connection with the shooting of a short film recently. "The film is part of a project in which five directors from India and Pakistan are making short films. Among the Indian directors, there's Tigmanshu Dhulia, Aparna Sen, Ketan Mehta and Bejoy Nambiar apart from me," informed the director while canning a boat scene at Raja Chet Singh Ghat on Wednesday.

Gap between filmmakers and masses
While coming to places like Varanasi, Nikhil says he realizes that Indian filmmakers are not making films for the masses. "We think that our world begins and ends in Mumbai. The western influence on Hindi film industry has led to a wide gap between the filmmakers and masses. We are not able to give them films like 'Purab Aur Paschim'. Today films for the masses are being made out of laziness. They make stupid films for them as they believe they deserve these kinds of film. For them (the filmmakers), the masses mean the lowest common factor. They forget that the same masses made Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra and Manmohan Desai what they were."

Next B-wood film set in Allahabad
After shooting for this short film in Varanasi, Nikhil will be back again in UP soon to shoot his next Bollywood film, Bazaar, which is still in the scripting stage. "The story of the film will start in Allahabad, where we intend to shoot from next year mid, then we will move to Mumbai and back again to Allahabad. The film is not a remake of the earlier film of the same name. The only similarity is the title," says Nikhil adding that the talk of Hrithik Roshan being part of the project and then being replaced by Akshay Kumar are just rumours. "We are yet to approach any actors. The only thing I can say is that the film will have big names of the industry," he adds.

Ask Nikhil about the repeated presence of Akshay Kumar in his films such as 'Chandni Chowk to China' and 'Patiala House', and he replies, "During the making of 'Chandni Chowk To China' we became good friends, the fate of the film at the Box Office did not affect our relationship. In fact, he was the first one to call me after the release of the film and told me that we will make another film and we went to do 'Patiala House' together."

But it's not as if the BO result of a film does not matter to Advani, The director admits that he was upset with the outcome of his recent films, 'Hero' and 'Katti Batti'. "I was not disappointed with how these films fared at the BO, but was upset for those 300 people who worked hard with me in the making of these films as these people believed in me," he says.

Need to be intolerant in some aspects
On the issue of intolerance that led to a divide in the film industry, Nikhil says, we have the right to speech in our country. "Those who say there is intolerance in our country should be allowed to say this and those who protest this, should be allowed to do so too. But what is really distressing is that we are discussing issues like what we should eat and not eat in a country where the majority of people don't have enough to eat. Moreover, when we are allowed to say that we are intolerant on a public forum that means we are already tolerant. I believe at times we are too tolerant - kabhi kabhi hum logon ko kehna chaiye ki yeh sadak bahut din se kharab hai ise theek karo. Instead of protesting on bad road conditions, we tend to focus on irrelevant things".

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