I want to make films that touch my heart: Nitesh Tiwari, director of ‘Dangal’

By Manju Mittal

Nitesh Tiwari’s award winning film Dangal became one of the biggest box office success in 2017 for both Aamir khan and the director Nitesh Tiwari. A software engineer from IIT Bombay turned film director and writer Nitesh Tiwari, who earlier helmed money spinning children’s films ”˜Chillar Party’, ”˜Bhootnath Returns and ”˜Kill Dil’, has also won the National Film Award for Best Children’s film in 2011 for ”˜Chillar Party’.

I caught up with director and writer of ”˜Dangal’ NiteshTiwari after the press conference of the film festival of Melbourne as we talked about his life’s unexpected journey, making of the film and his hometown.

First of all, Congratulations on being awarded best film as a director and the Telstra People’s Choice Award at IFFM. How do you feel being part of IFFM?

I feel privileged and truly honoured to be part of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. The kind of love and acclaim I have received for Dangal is quite heart-warming, it has thrilled me a lot.

Nitesh, you have not only directed the film but you have written the story as well; share your journey with us?

The journey was very exciting. I always wanted to write scripts, it all began while I was doing my B.Tech in computer engineering in Mumbai. It is Mumbai that made me realise I had it in me to be a storyteller. And there’s nothing better than being a storyteller.

What inspired you to do this film and what was it about the Phogat story that appealed to you the most?

I must thank one of my friends who narrated the Phogat’s story to me in just a few lines which was enough as it touched my heart. I instantly realised that if written well it could be a highly inspirational story, especially in the society we live in, it took me about a year to pen it down and ensure its authenticity, I met Phogat, his daughters, friends and relatives several times in their village in Haryana. It is a human story with great value.

How does it feel to direct the perfectionist Aamir Khan?

I am very grateful to him as he accepted the story in our first meeting and gave me the opportunity to direct him. We both have so much in common; we both think alike and working with him is certainly a dream come true. He is such a humble and sweet person. I salute his dedication to play Phogat which is an inspiration for the entire cast & crew. Though we call him ”˜Mr Perfectionist’, he believes that learning never stops.

What was the casting process for Dangal?

We had to find four girls – two older women and two children who would play their young versions so our task was doubly difficult. Our audition process was so lengthy that by the time the girls were shortlisted they had become extremely comfortable with Aamir Khan. I was very fortunate to have the best cast and crew. In the film we have brilliant performances by the entire cast featuring Sakshi Tanwar, Shishir Sharma and more.

What kind of films do you want to make in the future?

Well, it all depends on what touches my heart. I would keep writing short stories, poems and plays. I have written a romantic film which my wife, Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, is directing. It is called ”˜Bareilly ki Barfi’ and is my first attempt at writing romance.

Hailing from the Madhya Pradesh, what’s your favourite memory of your hometown?

I was born in Itarsi, Madhya Pradesh, India. Itarsi is a town in Madhya Pradesh in Hoshangabad District, the place where I spent my childhood. My favourite memory is playing cricket with my friends and spending time with my family. I lived in Bhopal also for three years. There have been many memories that I will cherish all my life.

What is your message to your fans in Australia?

I just want to say I am thankful to all who have watched my films, keep watching my films. I love Australia and hope I get more opportunity to come here and shoot here one day.

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=9499