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No bitter parting with Johars: Nikhil Advani
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Don't look for a controversy or scandal here. But Nikhil Advani, after directing "Kal Ho Na Ho" for Karan Johar, has moved on to direct and produce his own film.
"That doesn't mean I've broken my ties with the Johars," Advani told IANS.
"It was a logical step forward. I've always been interested in production. Even as an associate director to Karan Johar, I was more like an executive producer.
"Except for distribution and marketing I know every aspect of filmmaking, thanks to my association with the Johars."
For financial support and backing, Advani has turned to Jhamu Sugandh. "Jhamu Sugandh is completely non-interfering. For the one month that I've known him I feel comfortable with him. This arrangement suits both me and the financier.
"Today in the filmmaking process financiers don't want to take on the hassle of production. They prefer to deal with financing and marketing while the production company handles the nitty-gritty. Hopefully, my first film won't shut down my company," he laughs.
About rumours on a bitter parting with the Johars, Advani clarifies: "Rumours were inevitable. And I don't pay attention to them. As long Yash Johar and Karan know what I'm doing I'm fine. Even if they had expressed disapproval even once I'd have dropped all my production plans. I spoke to Yash Johar before making this critical decision. There're no issues between us.
"I'm still in their office thrice a week. I've taken an office right next to theirs. I've told Karan that when he starts his film, he can any time ask me to be the executive producer on the project. I can even be a crowd manager for Karan. I'm that kind of a person. Anyone whom I assisted in the past - Sudhir Mishra, Aziz Mirza or Saeed Mirza - I've always dropped my work and done whatever they wanted. So it will be for Yash and Karan Johar. I am what I am today because of them."
Nikhil insists there was absolutely no acrimony in his parting with the Johars.
"Even when I was directing 'Kal Ho Na Ho', people said Karan had directed it. After release they changed their mind. And those who say I've gone my own way to escape the 'Karan Johar' tag need to understand one thing. Even Karan Johar is moving away from the 'Karan Johar style'.
"Scripting 'Kal Ho Na Ho' was his first big step in a different direction. Now his film would take him even further away from the Karan Johar style. It will go into a totally different time zone and present Shah Rukh Khan like never before. I think Karan's forte is human relationships. That would remain. But he's extending his wings. He understands the need to reinvent himself.
"Soham Shah is making a supernatural thriller for Dharma Productions. Growth is the sign of a great production house."
For his second directorial venture to be produced by himself, Advani has got the Saurabh Shukla to co-author the script.
"When Saurabh came to Mumbai from Delhi, we worked together for Sudhir Mishra. Since my film will be located in the north and me being a Mumbai boy, I need Saurabh's understanding of the northern flavour. Hopefully my film will be a runaway hit, so people won't say 'Kal Ho Na Ho' was a flash in the pan."