Former COO at the international advertising agency Leo Burnett, Nitesh Tiwari is an Indian writer, producer, and filmmaker who made his directorial debut with the 2011 light-hearted drama Chillar Party, which went on to win the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film.
Born and brought up in Patna, Bihar, Nitesh Tiwari studied engineering at IIT Bombay. While studying IIT, he realized he wanted to be in the creative field, and after graduating he became a part of the ad agency Leo Burnett. During his stint at work, he worked on various projects, including Kaun Banega Crorepati 4 and Reliance Mobile’s first T-20 World Cup. Sixteen years into the ad industry, Nitesh went from being a copywriter to becoming the COO of Leo Burnett.
Nitesh met Ashwiny Iyer through a friend, and after only three meetings Ashwiny knew she wanted to marry him. Although there were certain difficulties due to their different cultures, but both the families agreed. The couple worked together in Leo Burnett during which Nitesh was Ashwiny’s boss for over seven years. After turning into a filmmaker, Ashwiny still works with Nitesh, however, she is the creative director. Together, the couple has twins: a son and a daughter.
While still working with Leo Burnett, Nitesh started working on his debut movie Chillar Party, which he wrote for and also co-directed it along with Vikas Bahl. The movie was not only a commercial success but also went on to win the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film. His next venture was the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Bhootnath Returns in 2014, which he wrote for and also directed. Sequel to the 2008 movie Bhoothnath, this political comedy was appreciated by critics and was also a hit at the box-office. In 2014, the director wrote the screenplay and dialogues of the crime action Kill Dil, which starred Ranveer Singh, Ali Zafar, Govinda, and Parineeti Chopra in pivotal roles. Although battered by the critics, the movie did commercially well and managed to recoup its budget.
The following year, in 2015, Nitesh turned producer for his wife Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s directorial debut Nil Battey Sannata, which he also wrote for. The movie starring Swara Bhaskar and Ria Shukla was lauded by the critics for its narrative, realism, and the performance of its cast. Nitesh’s next project was the biographical drama Dangal, starring Aamir Khan and Sakshi Tanwar in lead roles alongside newcomers Sana Fatima Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra. Aamir Khan released the movie at a special screening for his friends and colleagues from the film industry before its slated release, after which the industry people went on to call Dangal the best Bollywood movie that has been made in a decade and already called it the movie of the year.