Nikkhil Advani: Didn’t want Nora Fatehi to be just an item girl in Batla House

Keen to have a dance number in Batla House, director Nikkhil Advani explains why he chalked out a special role for Nora Fatehi

Regardless of the film’s subject, item numbers have become a staple in Hindi movies. While John Abraham’s Batla House is a cop drama about the 2008 police encounter in Delhi, the narrative makes room for Nora Fatehi’s dance number, O Saki Saki remix. Quiz director Nikkhil Advani on it, and he says it is the result of having his fingers burnt in the past. “To this day, critics tell me that they loved D-Day [2013]. But the audience did not go to theatres to watch it. I want people to watch Batla House. If that means John’s character needs to crush a phone by his hand or we need [to include] an item number, I will do it,” he argues.

However, the conscientious director reveals that he could not make peace with incorporating an item number to grab eyeballs. One to understand the value of a story, Advani chalked out a character for Fatehi that fit organically in the cop drama. “It was the toughest part of the film to work on because I didn’t want Nora to be just an item girl. I made sure she had a role and did acting and dialogue workshops with her. She is an integral part of the movie. I am convinced about Saki Saki being a part of Batla House.”

Asserting that he feels a sense of responsibility with his projects, he adds, “I think about how my 12-year-old child will react to a scene, or my wife, for that matter. I had an item song planned for D-Day where the girl was supposed to dance around Rishi Kapoor’s character. That’s when the Nirbhaya [case]happened. So, I decided not to shoot the song as the timing was wrong.”

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