'Raavan' was supposed to be screened at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in Colombo and the director not only cancelled the screening but also refused to attend it, citing work pressure.
"It's not true that Abhishek, Mani Ratnam and Aishwarya didn't come here because of the Tamil protests. Govindaji will be here. I'm already here, so I think it should put the rumours to rest that the 'Raavan' team is not here because of the protests," Nikhil said.
"We should take Mani Ratnam's word when he said that he is busy with post-production work. Any filmmaker will be madly immersed in his film just two weeks before its release. Other team members are also busy with some or the other things. That's the only reason behind their absence," he said.
Back home, Tamil groups were not in favour of IIFA going to Sri Lanka and asked everyone to either boycott it or change the venue. According to them, Sri Lanka needed to be shunned as its military had killed Tamils in large numbers last year in the war that led to the bloody decimation of the Tamil Tigers.
The South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce announced a boycott of Colombo by southern actors and filmmakers and said it would boycott the Bollywood stars who went to Sri Lanka as well as their movies.
The 31-year-old Nikhil, who has worked in films like 'My Name is Anthony Gonsalves' and 'Khallbali - Fun Unlimited', will be seen as Abhishek's younger brother in 'Raavan', which is scheduled for a June 18 release.
"It was an absolutely marvelous experience. I got an opportunity to work with Mani Ratnam very early in my career and I feel I'm very fortunate," said Nikhil.
Talking about his co-stars, he said: "It was great shooting with Abhishek and Aishwarya. Abhishek made me very comfortable on the sets. I had a great time. I'm really looking forward to working with them again."
'Raavan', shot simultaneously in Tamil and Hindi, is said to be a modern day version of the Indian epic Ramayana.