By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM Tuesday, January 16, 2007 At a time when most film-makers want to play safe by making short films [two hours or less than two hours duration], Nikhil Advani's Salaam-E-Ishq has a running time of 3.30 hours. Whew! "I look at it this way. Had there been one or two pairs/tracks in the film, this length would've been unjustified then. But Salaam-E-Ishq has six different tracks which merge into one story. The length, therefore, is just right," Nikhil informs me.
Please continue. "Four out of six stories meet at one place in the pre-climax. In fact, John-Vidya's track triggers off the climax. The penultimate twenty minutes are the highpoint of my film. And I couldn't have made the version shorter by any chance," Nikhil enlightens.
A few days ago, Nikhil screened the rough cut of the film for his friends in the industry, directors all. "I was apprehensive that they might raise the same issue [length]. But they were unanimous that Salaam-E-Ishq moves at a blistering pace. Not once does the pacing get lethargic, they felt. In fact, I have decided to add a few songs and scenes to the film if it works with the audiences. The length would almost touch 4 hours then," Nikhil says.
Nikhil had also promised actor Salman Khan that he would first screen the film to his father, veteran writer Salim Khan, before anyone else and take his invaluable opinion on the film. "Salim-saab loved Salaam-E-Ishq. I asked him if anything needs to be cut or trimmed and he replied instantly, 'It's a brilliant film. Don't cut even one frame'. That gave me the confidence to go ahead with the length," Nikhil states.
Nikhil also makes a valid observation as far as the length is concerned. "A bad film with a shorter duration of 1.30 hours won't work. Conversely, a good film that holds viewers' interest with a running time of even 4 hours might still work," he opines. I agree!
Meanwhile, Nikhil and Priyanka Chopra [paired opposite Salman] visited Jaipur on Sunday, 14th January to address the local media. All hell broke loose when they arrived at Jaipur's INOX multiplex. A frenzied crowd attempted to get a glimpse of them, as they walked into the multiplex.
Nikhil and Priyanka floored the media with their witty and crisp answers. Later, Nikhil and Priyanka went to Dargah Sharif, Ajmer to offer prayers.