Nikhil Advani of Kal Ho Naa Ho fame has completed an animation film, Ab Dilli Door Nahin, about five animals from the jungle seeking an audience with politicians in Delhi. Just one hitch - the title belongs to R.K. Films.
In 1957, the illustrious Raj Kapoor produced an experimental film called Ab Dilli Door Nahin about a young boy from a far off village travelling to Delhi to meet then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
The film bombed. But Nikhil feels it's the correct title for his film.
"I can't think of a better title than Ab Dilli Door Nahin because my movie says nothing is impossible. But the title is with R.K. Films."
"I've requested them to part with it. They haven't yet got back to me. But I'm sure they will. I hope I'll be able to use the title because I've no second option," Advani told IANS.<b1>
"My animation film is about the adventures of five animals. The voices have been lent by Akshaye Khanna, Ayesha Takiya, Urmila Matondkar, Boman Irani and Suniel Shetty, who has a very special role as Ayesha's father heading for Delhi to meet the politicians," he added.
Blame Ayesha Takia's father for prompting Advani to make an animation film.
"He actually tempted me into making an animation film. But my fear was we don't have the budget to make something like Finding Nemo? I started work on my animation film before starting From Chandni Chowk to China for Rohan Sippy," Advani said.
The director wants to dedicate the film to his adopted baby girl.
"I hope she'll be old enough to enjoy the film when it's released next year. At the end of the day I want it to be released like a Bollywood film. There are six songs by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy."
He is trying to spend as much time as possible with his daughter before he leaves for China early next week for four months at a stretch.
"But I've made sure they join me there."
There's an avalanche of animation films coming up this year with star-voices lending a glorious market-friendliness to the projects.
If Yash Raj Films' Road Romeo has Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Javed Jaffrey's voices, Karan Johar's Coochie Coochie Hota Hai will have Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukerji reprising their Kuch Kuch Hota Hai dialogues in animation form.
What made Nikhil decide on an animation film? Was he trying to be one up on his erstwhile producer friend Karan, who's also producing an animation film?
Advani said: "No such thing. It's just a funny coincidence that whatever Karan does, I end up doing the same. It was Ayesha's father's idea to do the animation film. I was neck-deep into pre-production for my big film From Chandni Chowk To China. This was the last distraction I needed. But now that I've done it, I must say I had a ball."