'Chandni Chowk...' not based on Akshay's life, but has similarities: Nikhil Advani

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) Nikhil Advani says he wants to dispel the notion that he is just a romantic filmmaker with his forthcoming "Chandni Chowk To China". He also clarified that the action-comedy is not based on lead actor Akshay Kumar's life.

"I would like to clarify that the film is not based on Akshay's life, but it only has similarities with his life," Advani told IANS over phone from Los Angeles.

"Chandni Chowk...' is about an Indian cook Sidhu, played by Akshay who goes to China and is mistaken to be a martial arts expert.

"Just like Akshay went to Bangkok from Chandni Chowk and worked there in a hotel, the character Sidhu is a cook from Chandni Chowk, who goes to China and is compelled to learn martial arts in order to meet his destiny," he added.

Advani shot to fame with his directorial debut "Kal Ho Naa Ho" in 2003. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta, the triangular love story was a huge success. His second film "Salaam-E-Ishq", a multi-starrer, was about six couples.

But the director doesn't like to be typecast and wants to experiment with different genres.

"I shouldn't be expected to make only romantic movies throughout my life. I'd like to be a director who can make any kind of film. I think every director should be willing to make any genre of film as long as the film is interesting. The film should spark the director from within to make something that speaks on its own irrespective of the genre.

"And for that matter, 'Chandni Chowk...' is a new genre for me that I've been waiting to work on since a long time. I also have other different subjects in the pipeline like a very inspirational film about a kid called 'Chand Bhai' and an animated project 'Ab Dilli Door Nahin'," he added.

Releasing Jan 16, "Chandni Chowk To China" is an action-comedy and is co-produced by Ramesh Sippy Entertainment, People Tree Films and Hollywood studio Warner Bros. Deepika Padukone plays Akshay's lady love in the movie.

Advani says the film has surprises for the audience.

"The promos project 'Chandi Chowk...' as an action-comedy, but the audiences will be surprised to find that it's actually an emotional journey of Sidhu. Though there are oodles of guaranteed humour in the film, it'll be after a long time that people will get to see Akshay in an emotional role."

Not many know that "Chandni Chowk..." is a film with many firsts to its credit. It is the first Indian film ever to be shot in China.

"The film is also India's first film to have more than 1,500 VFX (visual effects) shots and that despite it not being a visual effects centric film," added Advani.

Asked if shooting in China was tough, Advani said: "It was like working in uncharted territory. However, China is like any other country where permissions, etc., are concerned. The people there are extremely proud of their heritage.

"We had seven months of pre-production work in China and it all went step by step."

The film is also being hugely promoted globally and will have four international premieres. It had its first premiere in LA followed by New York and Toronto. The last is scheduled in London later Saturday.

Advani is also hopeful that the film will prove to be "a breather for the audiences when they come out of theatres considering the tough times going on courtesy the recession and the terror attacks.

"'Chandni Chowk...' is also about believing in yourself. It's an old-fashioned Bollywood masala film in its entirety and I hope people will enjoy the two-and-a-half hour spectacle," said Advani.

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