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Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari: OTT platforms are a medium for storytellers

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Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, who has helmed acclaimed streaming projects such as ‘Break Point’, the story of the flawed Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi bromance for ZEE5, and co-directed ‘Ankahi Kahaniya’ for Netflix, says that OTT portals have taken over the content game and changing it for the better.

“It is purely a storytellers’ medium where it is the story that counts and everything else is secondary,” added the talented young filmmaker from Mumbai.

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“We have so much international content,” said the maker of the critically acclaimed romantic comedy ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ and the comedy drama ‘Nil Batte Sannata’, which won her the Filmfare Best Debut Director Award. “In this day and age, when we can watch all kinds of movies in different languages, if we feel there is merit in adapting a film in the region we are living in, it is possible now.”

“CODA is an adapted screenplay, and a story with strong content and characters will always tug at your heart,” said Iyer Tiwari about the Oscar best picture winner, which is an adaptation of the 2014 French-Belgian film, ‘La Famille Belier’. She added: “Creators are chasing only good stories that can inspire, make people aspire or change thought processes.”

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Iyer Tiwari’s next project is the web film, Faadu, an “intense poetic love story” she’s making for SonyLIV. “Stories told most of the time are a reflection or a result of an ever-changing society. They explore the grammar of social thinking that can make a point as a thought starter,” she said.

Delving deeper into the story-writing process, she said: “We are still in the entertainment business, but we do have the ability to touch hearts and create an afterthought or a surge of emotions that can be a step towards a new way of thinking in society.”

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Talking about how the OTT space has made a difference to filmmakers and writers, Iyer Tiwari said: “It allows them the freedom to tell different stories fearlessly in a language they are most comfortable with. It also gives them an opportunity to be experimental and choose different actors who bring life to characters.”

She continued: “The writing has changed. The style of direction has become more fearless. A lot of young minds are getting their own stories, and today, there are not just a few filmmakers or writers making films, but a whole ecosystem where new ideas are being constantly churned and new talent is getting an opportunity to tell a story from a platform where it fits in.”

Iyer Tiwari also believes that the OTT space is a level playing field, which is open to everyone who has a story to tell. “As more and more storytellers are venturing into the OTT space, there are many ideas across multiple genres that are being made into content being helmed by different creators, from newbies to established names,” she said.

And she concluded by saying: “The beauty of it is that everyone has a playground to tell their stories in varying budgets and it has opened up opportunities for everyone who has a story to tell.”

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