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Aakansha Naval-Shetye (DNA; November 19, 2012)
Filmmaker Nikhil Advani burst onto the Bollywood scene with a superhit Kal Ho Naa Ho. But it was a success that he himself could not match upto with the films that followed including Salaam-e-Ishq, Chandni Chowk To China and Patiala House. However, the Delhi Safari director reveals that none of the misses at the box-office have left him with a bitter aftertaste. “I guess what kept me going really was the faith some people had in me and my talent. I feel fortunate to have those people in my life,” says Nikhil. Currently shooting for his next film D-Day, here he talks about the highs and lows of his Bollywood safari…
Were you expecting Delhi Safari to make it to the shortlisted 21 animated films at the Oscars?
Not at all. I had stopped having any expectations from my films a long time back (laughs). Well, this is one lesson I have learnt and that is every film comes with its own destiny. Like this one I had intended to make in one year, but it took six. You can work on it as much as you want, put in more than your 100 per cent, but then it just follows its own destiny. So it’s important to not obsess over the end result.
People have always been expecting another Kal Ho Naa Ho-like success from you…
I think it’s good to have that pressure, as it means that they have not lost their faith in me. It’s encouraging.
How much does success matter to you?
I feel that as a director it is my responsibility to recover the cost of the film for my producer. As a creative mind, my constant endeavour is to up the quality. The balance is more important than success alone.
All your films have been very different from each other. Didn’t you want to conform to industry rules and stick to a particular genre?
Never. As a filmmaker I want to be able to tell any story I want and not choose stories based on the genre. I don’t see myself limiting to a genre. And I think it’s something that every filmmaker believes in today. They are raising the bar of quality for Indian cinema. I don’t think I am there yet, but I would like to be a part of that group.
What are the kind of films you hope to make?
The kind that my daughter would be proud of when she grows up. I want her to be proud of the films her dad made. Delhi Safari was a film I made for her and I am glad she liked it. That it’s in for the Oscar race is an added.
Equations change here every Friday…
Of course. But then I am not bitter about my failures at all. I don’t blame anyone. After all that’s the way things are. There is so much at stake. I just feel that I am destiny’s child as inspite of the Fridays I’ve had people who trusted me as a filmmaker.