The director opens up to us EXCLUSIVELY about her upcoming films and much more....
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, wife of
director Nitesh Tiwary, has two exciting films releasing next month, but you will be surprised to know that they have the same story. Dangal , a film about a mother-daughter relationship, has been in the making since a long time, but did you know that a Tamil version of the film, Nil Battey Sannata with a different cast is releasing simultaneously with it? No, right? We were stumped too and hence we spoke to director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari to know more about the films, the actors and much more. Excerpts from the EXCLUSIVE interview follow: Amma Kanakku
How did you come about making Nil Battey Sannata and Amma Kanakku? Nil Battey Sannata happened when I was heading Leo Burnett (ad agency). My husband, Nitesh Tiwary, got this one line idea and that's when we decided to develop it. Almost after a year of writing the screenplay, I happened to tell Ajay Rai about the script and he thought it was brilliant and we should make it. So that's how I quit advertising and ventured into direction. After 14 long years I quit advertising and went on to making this film. It had many roadblocks, after which we made the film and Anand L Rai happened to see it and he liked it so much that he told us that he will be presenting the film. We were very happy and the film went on to Anand sir's wing and he happened to show the trailer to Dhanush and he really liked it.
I didn't even know that he had seen the trailer and Anand sir gave him my number and he called me. He said, 'Hi, I am Dhanush talking and I like your film and I want to make it in Tamil.' I was like, 'Wow, yes please make it.' But, he replied, 'No, I want you to direct it.' I was surprised and said No! I was very busy with my play, but he wanted me only to direct it. Finally I agreed as talks about something else also started. Anand sir and
Dhanush really pushed me and they weren't ready to budge, so I said Ok. But, I said that I will shoot this film only if I get Revathi.
I called up Revathi and she told me that she is very busy right now and she is not doing any more films now, but I said that I will wait and confidently said, 'Once you are going to read the screenplay you will love it.' She replied , ' I really admire your confidence, but I don't know.' But, I waited and exactly after seven days she called me and agreed to do the film. That's how it happened.
Most of the bilingual films are dubbed. But you decided to create two different films with different casts but same story. So how did you decide on this?
The idea was that Nil Battey Sannata could be adapted into any language, it was a universal thought. The moment Anand sir saw it and Dhanush saw it, they wanted to spread the film more than what we had thought. Generally, the same actors dub or shoot for the film twice in two different languages, but decided otherwise. It might have been done earlier, but it hasn't been done since a long time. So we shot with two different casts in two different cultures. My idea was that the film should reach everyone.
How was it working with Swara Bhaskar, Ratna Pathak, Revathy and Amala Paul?
We all know Ratna Pathak and Revathy are such trained actors and with so much experience between each other, it was great to see them doing the same thing flawlessly in the same style. On the other hand, I was very fortunate to find two similar actors in
Swara Bhaskar and Amala Paul. They both are very similar in character and in real life too. They both are very vibrant and they had to be toned down for the film. I am the first female director for both of them, so I enjoyed the whole process.
Could you elaborate about the story?
The film is about the relationship about a mother and her daughter and their complexities, told in a very fun way. It is a very funny movie, with lots of songs and dance and everything. But, it has a moment of life to tell.
If you had to chose between the Tamil version and the Hindi version, which one would you see first?
Both, I am not being diplomatic. For
Nil Battey Sannata we shot in Agra and for Amma Kanakku we shot in Chennai, so everything was different, but the idea is the same. The story hasn't changed and every single frame is also same.
Do you and Nitesh discuss films?
Yeah, of course. We discuss work always.
So did you give him any inputs for Dangal and have you taken any advice for Nil Battey Sannata?
Right from the beginning he has helped me write the script for
Nil Battey Sannata and it was his core idea. Even in Bhootnath, Chillar Party and now , I have been a silent partner for him. Helping him, not with the screenplay, but with the looks and all that. We bounce off ideas with each other and that helps a lot. We are the first bouncing boards for each other. So if the idea is bad, we can say it is crap, so we are each others critics too. He played an integral part in pushing me to do the Tamil film because I was not too keen about it. I was thinking how can I revive the same relationship again, revive the same emotions in a different way, going to Chennai, new location, new production, everything, so he played an important part in convincing me to do the Tamil version. I thank him as he really pushed me and it has opened up so many avenues now. Dhanush is really fond of me now. Dangal
Do you plan to work with Dhanush anytime soon?
He wants to work with me, but I don't have a story for him currently. He keeps telling me that there are stories floating everywhere, so you will find something soon.
Any other projects that you are planning to start?
There is something in process already, but the producers haven't announced it, so I can't talk about it right now. In another 10 days time, we will announce it.
Any actress from Bollywood that you are keen to work with?
I love Vidya Balan,
Kangana Ranaut and Deepika Padukone, so I would like to work with them.
Also check out more on Deepika and Kanagana's stormy relationship in the video below:
(Video courtesy SpotboyE)
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