Filmmaker Nikkhil Advani is making his debut on TV with an adaptation of Gsideon Raff’s Israeli series “Prisoners of War,” on which US drama “Homeland” is based.
The 45-year-old director who made his debut with romantic drama “Kal Ho Naa Ho, says “When I made ‘D-Day’ people could not believe that the director of ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ made this film. I made films like ‘Katti Batti’ and ‘Hero’ and I failed. I then produced ‘Airlift’ and it was a success”.
Airlift is a 2016 Indian war thriller film directed by Raja Krishna Menon, starring Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur. The script, written by Raja Krishna Menon developed the idea after studying the whole incident of the war, and which he subsequently expanded. The film follows Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar), a Kuwait-based businessman, as he carries out the evacuation of Indians based in Kuwait during the Invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
He says his favourite genre is thriller films. “I thought this is the genre or the space I can work in. It brings out the best in me. I understand it. There is a combination of politics and emotion. And I think I am able to strike a good balance,” Nikkhil said.
Stressing on why he wanted to go to TV he says “I didn’t have any intention to make a switch to television, I just wanted to tell the story. It’s such a vast story and I thought I won’t be able to do justice with it in two and a half hours. For me it was equal to making 22 films.”
Nikkhil says he was offered to helm the Indian version titled “POW- Bandi Yuddh Ke” by Star India after his 2013 spy thriller.
“Post ‘D-Day’, the head of Star approached me saying he loved the film and asked if I can do something for them on television. I was not sure of how I would relate to the formula of television” he adds.
“Then they came to me with ‘Hatufim’. But like everyone I had in mind that it’s ‘Homeland’ and I said no as I thought that’s not the way ATS works in India. They don’t have computers, they work on ground level and have real sources like a tea seller. But when I saw the original, I realised it was a global story.”
With 1999 Kargil war as the background, the show is about the emotional trauma the families of the imprisoned soldiers go through.
“I feel anything related to politics, espionage, thriller and suspense needs to be rooted in reality. It was just very fortunate for us that Kargil happened 17 years ago.
“When I watched ‘Hatufim’ I realized ‘Prisoners of War’ is not about the real prisoners. It’s about their families and the way their life changes when they come out of prison after 17-long-years.” – CINEWS