'Chhichhore' my most personal and challenging film: Nitesh Tiwari

04:25 PM Sep 06, 2019 | PTI |
New Delhi: "Dangal" director Nitesh Tiwari says his years as a student at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay where he was encouraged to push the envelope were crucial in shaping his career as a storyteller. His latest film "Chhichhore" is a tribute to his years as a student and the friendships he forged at IIT-Bombay. "I think it was destiny that brought me to Bombay IIT. I could have gone to other IITs but I landed here. My biggest learning there was to try and do things differently because out-of-box ideas were encouraged. I have closely seen that life and I wanted to make a beautiful story out of it," he told PTI. The director says he ended up tapping his creative side quite accidently as his seniors pushed him to get involved with theatre productions. "I never thought I could write or act before Bombay IIT. My seniors pushed me to do that because there weren't many participants at that time. I realised I could write and act and it gave me a lot of joy." "Chhichhore" deals with two timelines and a set of characters, led by Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor, and a lot of what happens in the movie is something that Tiwari witnessed firsthand, making it his most personal project till date. "This is how it was in the 90s. If you were in college, not just IIT Bombay, but any college, you would come across these set of characters... As far as the title is concerned, we were looking for something that describes this bunch of friends. "Everyone in their college or hostel life is a bit chhichhora'. There is a saying that you can take a guy out of hostel but not the hostel out of the guy. It's true for this bunch of friends," he says. There is a three-year-long gap between Dangal and his latest release but Tiwari isn't too worried. "I take a lot of time to write my films. It happened with Dangal' and on this one too. This one took much longer because it is probably the most challenging screenplay I have ever written in my life. "The structure was quite challenging. You have seven characters in two timelines, which are merging at different points. Each of these characters have their individual arcs and then there is the common arc. You have to ensure that it is done with right amount of tadka'. The process was rewarding but not easy. Both Tiwari and his director wife Ashwini Iyer Tiwari started as advertising professionals before diversifying into films, which he believes helped him strengthen his fundamentals. "There's not a lot of difference between an advertisement and a feature film. It's just that your style of storytelling changes. In advertising, you have to make sure that you are able to finish a story in a minute or 45 seconds. "In a feature film, the challenge is to hold people's interest for two-and-a-half- hours or two hours. The principles of filmmaking don't change but it is you as a storyteller who comes into play." After "Chhichhore", Tiwari has signed up for another challenging project, a retelling of "Ramayana" for the big screen. A lot of big names, including "Dangal" star Aamir, have been doing the rounds for the cast but Tiwari says everything is speculation at this point. "I feel very lucky to have been considered and chosen for this project. We haven't done this on this big a scale and that's what excites me. This is one of the best stories that we have, it's a part of our culture," he says. Aware that any iteration of Ramayana is bound to attract interest, Tiwari says the team is aware of all the sensibilities involved. "We are taking everything as it comes. It is going to be a trilogy so it needs to be given the time it deserves," he says. Both Tiwari and Ashwini Iyer, who has made "Bareilly ki Barfi", have established their identity as go-to directors in the industry, something the filmmaker is extremely proud of. "A lot of people say that they like her work more than mine and I feel happy to hear that. I'm a part of the writing team on all her films. It is mandatory for me exactly the way it is mandatory for her to look at the art side of my films. We feed on each other's strengths," he said.

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