Almost one month ago, this writer did the news-break of Nikhil Advanis next project, after KAL HO NAA HO. At that point of time, Nikhil was in the U.S., shooting a commercial for British Airways and therefore, unavailable for comment. The moment he set foot on Mumbai soil, the talented director has been all charged up to complete the pre-launch formalities before he embarks on the non-stop shooting of his multi-starrer. Heres the exclusive, official, first-hand info on the project. The film, titled SALAAM-E-ISHQ A TRIBUTE TO LOVE, will star six pairs, which means six actors and six actresses. The pairings are as follows:- Salman Khan-Priyanka Chopra, Anil Kapoor-Juhi Chawla, Akshaye Khanna-Ayesha Takia and John Abraham-Vidya Balan. Also finalized is Govinda, but an English actress [yes, a gori mem will be cast opposite him] is under finalization. It could be an actress from New York or Los Angeles or London. We are still searching, Nikhil divulges. As for the sixth pairing, its Sohail Khan and this actress, the leading sex symbol today. Under normal circumstances, it would be tough to assemble a massive star cast. But in Nikhils case, he went about it in the most non-conventional way. Generally, film-makers make the stars hear the script first, before going ahead with the formalities. After completing the script [written by Nikhil, Saurabh Shukla and Suresh Nair] of SALAAM-E-ISHQ A TRIBUTE TO LOVE, Nikhil made a 3-minute promo of the six pairs he planned to cast for his film. I borrowed visuals of the twelve actors from various films and made a proper showreel, with a soft background score to match the mood of the film, Nikhil discloses. The next thing he did was call the actors to his office, play the showreel on his laptop and then narrate the script. The showreel gives ample idea to the viewer about the character sketch of each actor. Once the actor knew what his/her character was, Nikhil went about narrating the entire script to them thereafter. And fortunately for him, the actors he had earmarked at the very outset were only too mesmerized by the script and are now a part of this ambitious film. But will Nikhil be able to devote ample screen time to all twelve characters in those two hours? Three hours, thats the duration of my film, Nikhil corrects me and continues in the same breath, Well, if the twelve actors had scenes together, it wouldve been tough to manage the combination dates. But in my film, they [the six pairs] arent related to one another, yet cross each others path at some stage or the other of the story, only to meet in the end. That way, Id be handling only two actors at a time, he asserts. Nikhil doesnt deny that it was Salman who introduced him to the producers [Sunil Manchanda, Mukesh Talreja] and indirectly put the project together. Salman and I were toying with the idea of working together. He had seen KAL HO NAA HO and liked my work. Its not that I approached him on a rebound, after I split with Karan [Johar], he clarifies. Meanwhile, Karan and Nikhil have decided to bury their differences. Who made the first move to shake hands again -- Karan or Nikhil? No one, actually! We connected again when his father [Yash Johar] passed away. I had to be there, Yash uncle was a pillar of strength for all of us. Karan and I came together in the hour of grief and started talking, he sounds emotional. Back to SALAAM-E-ISHQ A TRIBUTE TO LOVE! The entire cast of the film took part in the photo session on Sunday, October 16 at Mehboob Studio in Bandra. Salman, who flew from U.S.A. after finishing work on JAANEMAN, went to Panvel [his farm-house], before heading for the photo-shoot. SALAAM-E-ISHQ A TRIBUTE TO LOVE is produced by Sunil Manchanda, Mukesh Talreja and Nikhil jointly and has music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who had composed the songs of Nikhils directorial debut KAL HO NAA HO. SALAAM-E-ISHQ A TRIBUTE TO LOVE rolls in November and the entire filming is expected to be completed by July next year. The film is slated for Diwali 2006 release.
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