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Nitesh Tiwari: Civilised arguments make us better creators

Updated on: 16 July,2023 07:14 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Mohar Basu |

With Bawaal making references to World War 2 and Hitler, director Nitesh on navigating social media debates and scrutiny around the film

Nitesh Tiwari: Civilised arguments make us better creators

Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor in Bawaal

Our history makes us who we are. It was probably this one line around which director-writer Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari wrote Bawaal, not knowing that the movie would land in filmmaker-husband Nitesh Tiwari’s kitty. “The story came from Ashwiny based on her life experiences with my dad. She wanted to take my father to the locations of World War 2. She was developing it for herself, but got busy with other projects. When I had a window, I asked her if she would be kind enough to part with it. My writers and I developed it further over the next two years,” begins Tiwari.

Nitesh TiwariNitesh Tiwari

In the Amazon Prime Video offering, Varun Dhawan plays a small-town history teacher, whose trip to Europe with his wife becomes a journey of self-discovery. What made him choose mainstream stars Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor for such an internalised film? Tiwari says he was guided by the characters. “Physically, I needed Ajju to be dominating. Nisha is vulnerable, but she is a volcano that erupts when she stands up for herself. I have interacted with these actors without having any work in mind. On a personal level, they are artistes who are genuinely seeking good work. That stayed with me. It wasn’t an easy decision for them. My films are complex and require focus. We do workshops and extensive readings before we go on floors. I don’t prefer surprises on the floor.”

Bawaal, though a love story at its core, impresses upon us a timely tale of kindness. “My ideology and values show in what I make. One of the strongest feelings is empathy, and that can’t be compromised upon. We walked out in lockdown with food packets in our hands, helping people we didn’t know. This feeling makes the world a much better place,” says the director. Even as his filmography includes blockbuster Dangal (2016) and Chhichhore (2019), he terms Bawaal—which makes references to World War 2 and Hitler—his most radical work to date. Is he worried about the quick opinions on social media? After a pause, he says, “I’d take opinions of people seriously, but I wouldn’t bother about a few odd voices. Four of us write [a script], we argue before anything goes on paper. Arguments, if civilised, are healthy and make us better as creators.”

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