Mumbai, Nikhil Advani’s next film “Patiala House” has cricket as its backdrop and the director is keen to cast Pakistani players as well. He says he will go ahead with his plans, unperturbed by the Shah Rukh Khan-Shiv Sena row over the same issue.
“Basically we need to see which way the IPL (Indian Premier League) matches go. As far as cricket in India is concerned, the IPL matches determine the stakes. Having said that, let me state I’ve no intention of changing my mind about the inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in my film, just because of the trouble that has happened.”
Shah Rukh and his film “My Name is Khan” faced the Shiv Sena’s ire over the actor’s remarks about the inclusion of Pakistani players in the IPL. Sena activists had attacked several theatres in Mumbai the day the film by Karan Johar was to release.
A source close to the “Patiala House” unit said that Advani, a former assisstant of Karan Johar, was in a dilemma earlier.
“On the one hand, Nikhil is being advised to drop the proposed Pakistani cricket players from his film. On the other hand, Nikhil feels dropping the players from across the border would be tantamount to playing into the hands that caused all these unwanted problems for Karan Johar.
“If Nikhil succumbs to pressures to drop the Pakistani cricketers, who are to shoot with Akshay Kumar, he feels he’d be letting down his mentor Karan,” the source said.
In fact, the agitation against Shah Rukh’s statement apparently made Advani more determined than over to not change his plans. He, however, admitted there are tremendous pressures on him to change his plans.
“As of now, the Pakistani cricketers are in my film. We’re in the process of drawing up a list of who are to be included,” said the director, who has made films like “Kal Ho Naa Ho” and “Salaam-e-Ishq”.
The director said he has been in touch with Karan all through his troubles with the Shiv Sena.
“I sent Karan a long SMS saying I’m with him. I don’t think politics and cinema should be mixed. As far as I’m concerned the players from Pakistan are most welcome in my film.”