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Blame Ayesha Takiya's father for prompting Nikhil Advani into making an animation film. "He actually tempted me into making an animation film. But my fear was we don't have the budget of a Finding Nemo? I started work on my animation film before starting From Chandni Chowk to China for Rohan Sippy."
There is an avalanche of animation films coming up this year with star-voices lending a glorious market-friendliness to the projects. If Yashraj Films Roadside Romeo has Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Javed Jaffrey's voices, Karan Johar's Coochie Coochie Hota Hai will have Shahrukh Khan, Kajol and Rani reprising their Kuch Kuch Hota Hai dialogues in animation form. Nikhil Advani has Akshaye Khanna, Ayesha Takiya and Boman Irani to do voices in his animation film tentatively titled Ab Dilli Door Nahin. What made Nikhil decide to do an animation film suddenly? Was he trying to be one-up on his erstwhile producer-friend Karan Johar who's also producing an animation film? Nikhil laughs. "No such thing. It's just a funny coincidence that whatever Karan does, I end up doing. It was Ayesha Takiya'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."
Before we knew it Nikhil has gone and completed an animation film about five animals from the jungle seeking an audience with politicians in Delhi. The film's title is Ab Dilli Door Nahin. 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 journeying to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The film came and bombed. But Nikhil feels it's the correct title for his film. "My animation film is about the adventures of five animals-with voices by Akshaye Khanna, Ayesha Takiya, Urmila Matondkar, Boman Irani, and Sunil Shetty plays a very special role as Ayesha's father-heading for Delhi to meet the politicians there. I can't think of a better title than Ab Dilli Door Nahin. Because it's about 'nothing is impossible'. But the title is with R.K. Films. I've requested them to part with it. They haven't gotten back to me. But I'm sure they will. I hope I will be able to use the title. Because I've no second option."
Nikhil hopes to dedicate Ab Dilli Door Nahin 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 full Bollywood film. There're six songs by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy." The director is trying to spend as much time as possible with his baby girl before he leaves for China early next week for four months at a stretch. "But I've made sure they join me there."