Mumbai: They have collaborated on three projects but director-producer Nikhil Advani says getting actor friend Akshay Kumar on board for a film is not an easy task.
Nikhil has worked with Akshay in his directorial ventures "Chandni Chowk to China" and "Patiala House", and his upcoming production "Airlift".
"Nothing is easy in this industry. We are good friends. It's okay, but that alone doesn't work. Akshay is known for his comedy and action films. This film (Airlift) doesn't have these things, it has drama. There is brand new Akshay Kumar (in the film)," Nikhil told PTI.
The 44-year-old director revealed at first he did not offer "Airlift" to Akshay as he thought the "Baby" actor would not like the concept.
"I was talking to him for some other film and just spoke to him in general about this idea ('Airlift'). He was like why I am not talking about it. I felt he would not do it. But he liked it. He likes good scripts," he said.
"Airlift" is about Ranjit Katyal (played by Akshay Kumar), a wealthy and powerful Indian businessman based in Kuwait, who with the help of the Indian government safely evacuated 170,000 Indians back to their country.
On the research for "Airlift", Nikhil said, "I read the two articles... We tried to get more information. We met those people, who became victims of the situation. We also met pilots, who were part of evacuation process."
The "Kal Ho Na Ho" director said he did not think it was a risk to produce "Airlift" as he likes to be associated with good stories.
Nikhil, however, felt it was not right for him to direct the film. "Airlift" has been directed by Raja Menon.
"He is a very competent director. He's very passionate about the story. It would be unfair on my part to just direct the film. I don't just want to be a director. I want to produce good films as well."
Releasing on January 22, "Airlift" also stars Nimrat Kaur in the lead role.