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'Salaam-e-Ishq' is just an entertaining ode to love: Advani
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
"Salaam-e-Ishq" was inspired by "Love Actually" just like the editing of his first film "Kal Ho Naa Ho" took tips from "Sidewalks Of New York" and "Sex and the City", confesses director Nikhil Advani.
"I was inspired into making 'Salaam-e-Ishq' after watching 'Love Actually'... just like the editing of my first film 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' was like 'Sidewalks Of New York' and 'Sex and the City'. And the humour of Saif Ali Khan's character was reminiscent of Woody Allen's cinema," Advani told IANS.
"I've said time and again that my film is formatted like 'Love Actually'. But the individual tracks are very different... unless you count the fact that Anil Kapoor is going through a mid-life crisis just like one of the characters in 'Love Actually'."
"Salaam-e-Ishq" has been pretty much an uphill task for Advani, from battling unsavoury stories about disgruntled co-stars to getting his former colleague Karan Johar to dub a line where the super-director introduces himself to Priyanka Chopra who plays a Karan fan.
Advani earlier wanted Karan to make an appearance in the ensemble film, which has Salman Khan-Priyanka Chopra, Akshaye Khanna-Ayesha Takia, Anil-Juhi Chawla, Sohail Khan-Isha Koppiker, John Abraham-Vidya Balan and Govinda-Shannon Esrechowitz. The dates just couldn't be worked out. Finally, he had to be content with his voice.
"In spite of the hurdles, it has been a dream run to the release. Some power has been looking after me. The experience has been exhausting. We shot for 131 days. Since there're six couples and six romances in 'Salaam-e-Ishq', it was virtually like shooting six different films. And yet I'm only two films old and seven films young."
Advani says that two of his themes in "Salaam-e-Ishq" are infatuation and obsession and it doesn't have a social message like "Baabul".
"It doesn't go into deep issues. It's just an entertaining ode to love. In my film love is a problem. The words of the Beatles' 'All you need is love, love is all you need' is my theme."
The film's title is inspired from the chart-busting song "Salaam-e-ishq meri jaan" in Prakash Mehra's "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar".
"It's my wife's favourite song. And this is as much an ode to love as to my love for my wife. When she jokingly suggested it, I immediately registered the title."
Isn't it gimmicky to use a popular song's title?
"I agree. It's also gimmicky to make Shah Rukh Khan run in 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' when he's just out of hospital. The song title provides instant identification with the audience."
Of the vast cast, "Akshaye wanted to play another role initially. I wanted Saif in the project. But he wanted Akshaye's role. Salman's role was written for him. Sohail Khan is like the chipmunk in 'Ice Age'."
His favourite pair in the film?
"Anil and Juhi are so wonderful to watch. I really enjoyed working with them. And the one actor I enjoyed directing the most was Govinda. He's a phenomenon. My film will put him back on the map.
"The stars are not stars in the film. They're all characters. We made 'Salaam-e-Ishq' exactly the way we envisioned it. When Akshaye's shirt was lost one my assistants got one from his home."
Filmmaking process is evolving in Bollywood.
"Every production house is becoming more corporate and professional. I had planned the release in December 2005. Pre-production is the life of any film now."