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Nitesh Tiwari On What It Means To Have Made The Most Successful Hindi Film Of All Times

It was expected that Nitesh Tiwari would change overnight after the grand success of Dangal. They all do. Nitesh didn’t. As  Dangal climbs from success to success the man helming the epic remains monkish and sufiyana in his detachment.

Producers are lining up to sign Nitesh. There is tremendous pressure to do a sequel to Dangal, and if not a direct sequel than at least another sports film?

I have known Nitesh from the time he co-directed the charming children’s film Chillar Party with Vikas Bahl. After Chillar Party Nitesh and Vikas parted  ways,as they were destined to. The two are as dissimilar as individuals and artistes as Bimal Roy and Bhagwan Dada.Nitesh branched out to make the cute if innocuous Bhootnath Returns.Vikas after unfairly hogging all the acclaim  for Chillar Party, went on to make Queen and turned into some kind of  a Page 3 prototype….reclusive disdainful towards the press and rumoured to have many lady friends in spite of being married to a devoted loving wife.

Nitesh and his filmmaker wife Ashwini Iyer Tiwari remain happily married  unaffected by the trappings of stardom. The simplicity of spirit is evident in Dangal where every frame is honest. Queen by the way, bore uncanny suspicious resemblances to a  little-known film called Phir Zindagi directed by Parvati Balagopalan, a fact that was swiftly swept under the carpet since Vikas was the new poster-boy for the desi-pasta Indie cinema .the kind of Indian cinema that Westerners are comfortable with because it’s just Indian enough to not seem overdone.

Nitesh Tiwari is far more unapologetic about the cinema that he believes in.

Dangal has not changed his attitude.He attributes its success to several factors, the least of them being his own storytelling skills. “I think the honesty and sincerity with which Dangal has been made has worked in Dangal’sfavour. We gave it all the time it deserved, all the effort it deserved, all the scale  it deserved.”

Nitesh hits the nail on the head when he speaks of the participative mood that Dangal creates, so that the audience feels at one with the struggles of a father’s ambitions to make his daughters a world champ. “We wrote it and shot it with the intention of giving our audience an engaging story in which they could participate as well. The characters and their emotions were kept extremely real and relatable. And the added layer of humour made the film even more enjoyable. The icing on the cake is that people are not just loving the movie but they are also able to see and appreciate the effort that has gone into making it. That’s what has made Dangal connect with people in such a big way.”

Now that Dangal is declared the biggest success of Hindi cinema Nitesh isn’t  putting any pressure on himself to  deliver something bigger. “It’s very natural that the success of Dangal would put pressure on me. But I have to be practical about it. Dangal had a beautiful script, a legend like Aamir Khan and a bunch of hugely talented and committed artists and technicians. One can never be certain but one can only hope for the same to happen again.”

So would it be a Dangal follow-up next?

Says Nitesh firmly, “I usually don’t put any conditions on the kind of films I would like to make. In fact, I would like to make all kind of films, provided I get stories that are exciting in those genres.”


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