Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari is a woman of many talents. The 41-year-old director, known for critically-acclaimed films like Nil Battey Sannata, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Panga, is now turning author with her book, 'Mapping Love'. The fiction book was initially set to be unveiled on May 21 but the launch was pushed to August 1, owing to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ashwiny gave up her secured job at a renowned advertising agency to pursue what she loved. She started with making a short film, What's for breakfast, and then went on to direct her first Bollywood film, Nil Battey Sannata. The Swara Bhasker-starrer film won accolades and got Ashwiny her first Filmfare Award for Best Debut Director.
So does the knack of advertising and marketing come into play while deciding which story to pen down, and which story to weave into a motion picture?
"As a storyteller, you have ideas in your mind all the time. And with the changing times, you have so many media to tell your story to the world. I wanted to write this story because I felt this was a beautiful story. And it needed to be told. Also, every story has a certain human engagement. All stories are not for films. Some are meant to be told through words. Mapping Love is something I desired to write. It's not exactly a love story between a guy and a girl. It's a coming-of-age story which touches upon all kinds of relationships -- between a man and a woman, between a parent and a child, and a relationship with one's ownself," Ashwiny told SpotboyE.com in an exclusive conversation.
The talented director added, "Mapping Love talks about belongingness, about trying to find one's roots, about complicated relationships and about the redeeming power of love. It's a lot different than finding love.
"Yes, an experience in marketing does come in handy in dissecting the audience. But honestly, a story is a story. You cannot anyway set a target audience for your book or your movie. Nil Battey Sannaata found a connect with many people -- at every demographic level. So I feel it's not about writing a story that will target a particular set of audience. It's about writing a story that is rich and full of insights, from which each person can take out something. It's all about how relatable my movie or book is. If I have achieved that, then I have reached the right place. One dialogue can connect with one person, and one scene with another. It's all about the relatability of what you want to say. Maybe you'll connect with something I have written in the book because you have gone through it. And that's how you touch hearts; that's how you touch lives. So as a storyteller and the way I tell stories, I have to be real, especially with myself and with my audience. I cannot lie to my audience."
A lot of travel went into writing the book, Ashwiny confessed, adding that she likes to challenge herself with every project she undertakes.
"I am a traveller. I travelled to many places -- to Rajasthan, Goa, Yoga camps in Hrishikesh -- while I was writing the novel. I would keep a diary with me, and wherever I went I wrote. I wanted to experience and enjoy the process of writing in solitude ever since I embarked upon this journey of writing the novel. Also, I like to challenge myself with each project of mine. So writing a book was my way to challenge myself, and to be a better student of life," she said in our exclusive chat.
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari's debut novel Mapping Love will be published by Rupa Publications.
The Hindi film industry has, of late, seen this trend of converting literary pieces into movies. And Ashwiny wishes to partake in this trend, as she told SpotboyE.com that she would love if a producer invests in a project that converts her book into a film.
"It's very hard to judge your work like that. It has not been written like a screenplay. It's a literary novel. But if any of my partners or anybody else likes the book and they want to produce it for me, I won't mind. But I have not written it like a screenplay," she said.
On the work front, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari is set to make her debut in the digital space with SonyLIV’s original series Faadu, primarily an intense and dramatic love-story. The filmmaker is also working on a biographical drama film about the life story of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy and his wife Sudha Murthy. She also recently announced her first collaboration with her husband, filmmaker Nitesh Tiwari. They will be making a documentary on Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes, titled Breakpoint, for the OTT space.
"These are all projects that have been happening for the past one or two years. And I am really excited for these. I am also doing something with Balaji and Ekta [Kapoor]. But that will be unveiled later," Ashwiny signed off.
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