Filmmaker Anand Tiwari describes himself as a romantic at heart but says he is nervous to know how his short for the Netflix anthology Feels Like Ishq will be received by a far younger generation.
Tiwari is a known figure in the film industry as he has straddled both the worlds of acting and directing. As an actor, he has featured in movies such as Udaan and Go Goa Gone. He ventured into directing with 2018’s Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar-starrer Love per Square Foot and later helmed Amazon show Bandish Bandits.
For Feels Life Ishq, Tiwari has directed the Star Host segment, which chronicles the meeting — and the eventual bonding — between two strangers, Tara and Aditya, played by actors Simran Jehani and Rohit Saraf, respectively.
The director said that despite his previous work, he still does not know the “key” to make a good romantic comedy.
“I don’t know the key to a good rom-com. You say what you feel like and hope it resonates. My mortal fear is that one day I will tell my story and nobody will care about it. So I am in a rush to tell as many stories as I possibly can. Somewhere, I want to tell the story of love for the generation I belong to.
“This film is important to me because I am right now telling the story of love, not for the millennials but Gen Z and I don’t know whether my assumptions of love and relationships will resonate with them. I am nervous (to see) whether a 15-year-old today will resonate with the love story of Tara and Aditya,” Tiwari told PTI.
The 38-year-old director said Star Host aligned with his gaze of love and romance. In the complexities and drama of relationships, Tiwari often finds amusement.
“I have always liked telling stories that question romance and love. I see a lot of humour in romance and I like to engage with it. Sometimes you take romance or life a little too seriously. I find romance not just in ‘romantic’ relationships but also in everyday life,” Tiwari said.
He came on board Feels Like Ishq when he was approached by the producers, Seher Aly Latif and Shivani Saran of Mutant Films.
The director said Feels Like Ishq offered him not only the opportunity to narrate a love story but also to shoot it in Mahabaleshwar, which was a much-needed respite to him after the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown last year.
“When you see the story of Aditya and Tara, you will see both are wanting to achieve two completely different things. The attempt is that they rub off on each other a little bit. Without overtly trying to do so, teach a lesson or two to each other.
“I was also missing the hills thanks to the lockdown. So we decided to bring all our fantasies together and tell this story,” he added.
Featuring six modern-day love stories, Feels Like Ishq seems like an exception in Bollywood, which for decades thrived on larger than life romances but has ignored the genre lately.
Tiwari believes that though there are not enough romantic comedies being made today, it will take one good movie to revive the genre.
“I believe, like fashion, storytelling also has a seasonal quality to it. It’s good we are not making too many romantic comedies now because a lot of the filmmakers are slightly older to the generation that will be watching the rom-com.
“When you have filmmakers from the age group which is now in their mid-20s to late-20s, when they get an opportunity to tell their stories, they will be far more true to the world that will be watching them.”
Tiwari said he has written a college love story that he is never going to make because “it is not relevant anymore.”
“Love stories have changed thanks to social media… So I don’t know how people in their teens romance anymore. My voice is not authentic. But it will come back, not just romantic comedies but romantic dramas. It is just about time,” he added.
Produced by Mutant Films and Awesomeness TV, Feels Like Ishq is scheduled to be released on Friday.