Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari on box office numbers: Important but not more than a good story

In an exclusive interview with, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari talks about filmmaking, her upcoming films, journey, and more.

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari on box office numbers: Important but not more than a good story
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Ad filmmaker-turned director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari has delivered several hit films like the critically-acclaimed Nil Battey Sannata and Panga with her incisive storytelling. In an exclusive interview with, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari talks about filmmaking, her upcoming films, journey, and more. Excerpts from the interview:

You have given us some brilliant films like Panga, Nil Battey Sannata, Bareilly Ki Barfi, and Ankahi, to name a few. How did it start? When did you realize that you want to become a director?

I worked in an advertising agency creating ideas for the biggest brands in India and South East Asia. During this course, I started working on Sony Entertainment Television and created campaigns and marketing ideas for their different shows. Bade Achee Lagte Hai was one of the many shows I worked on. Followed by campaign ideas for KBC, Indian Idol, and Bigg Boss. My campaign ‘Mubarak ho ladki hui hai’ resonated with the audience and I felt it was time to start directing now after creating so many ideas for various brands. 

What were the struggles you faced as a female director?

Coming from a place where women were treated as equals, things changed when I got into production as there were not many women behind the camera calling the shot. Took a while for people to address sir to Mam’ but it happened as your ability and talent decide your workflow, not your gender. 

Do you think the narrative, or how a story is shown, changes if we have a female writer and a director? If yes, how?

The gaze is different. That’s why the yin and yang coincide. 

Do you feel a director’s struggle is not recognized?

No, today with the new age of technology and the internet and social media everyone’s work is recognised. Your work speaks. And your audience finds you no matter what.

What were some of the stereotypes you faced as a director?

The brain speaks or it’s someone else speaking for her. 

You have an amazing lineup ahead – Faadu, Tarla, Bawaal, and Bas Karo Aunty — please tell us something about each film/series. 

When I was in the agency, I was spearheading a branch as Executive creative director which is more like a producer. Managing people and creativity and enhancing and mentoring young minds come naturally. So becoming a producer to tell stories, I believe, is a natural progression and nothing new. I am a student for life and like working on new stories and ways of storytelling. Keeps me going at the same time I can switch off easily and live a slow life. That makes me passionate about stories and understanding the psychology of people and culture and changing thoughts.,vid:BVO5mv6DXKE

What will the audience get to see from Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s upcoming web series Faadu?

An intense love story and psychology of human nature that co-exists in our every day lives. We cannot run away from relationships and somewhere we address these issues and the very meaning of love.  

How was the experience making ‘Faadu’? How did you get the idea?

The idea came from poet-writer Saumya Joshi. He was brilliantly backed by Sony Liv who believed in the idea of telling good stories fearlessly. 

How important are the box office numbers for you?

Important but not more important than a story. A good story becomes brilliant because of the love we get from the audience. To hear their reaction is what we storytellers strive for.  But at the same time, we should not get so attached to numbers. They can wear you down and question why we make films. 

Tell us about your next book.

Writing and it’s going to take a long time as I am experimenting with a new genre. 

How do you stay non-judgmental as a director?

Art is a form of expression and that feeling cannot be judgemental. 

A dream project you want to work on?

I am working on it. It is my next. Will be announced soon.

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First published on: 05-12-2022 at 10:00:00 am