His co-directorial venture "Chillar Party", focussing on a bunch of kids, won the National Film Award, and his second project "Bhoothnath Returns" also regaled movie-goers. Nitesh Tiwari finds the appreciation encouraging and says it can boost the confidence of filmmakers to back quality films.
Tiwari believes there's a "dearth of children's films" in India. He can, however, see a silver lining.
"There is a dearth of children's films in our country, but the scenario is changing slowly. And that's a welcome sign. Success of more kids' films is encouraging more producers to put money behind such projects. But we still have a long way to go," the director told IANS on the telephone from Mumbai.
Tiwari's movies cannot exactly be compartmentalised into 'children's films', but their storylines are backed by the presence of endearing child protagonists.
He directed "Chillar Party" along with Vikas Bahl, and the entertainer won the National Award for the best children's film in 2011. Also, the nine kids in the film shared the best child artist award along with Partho Gupte, who played the lead in Amole Gupte's "Stanley Ka Dabba", another film based on the life of a school-going child.
Tiwari says awards are "not the sole motivators" for making these films.
"I don't make films to win awards. If awards come my way, great! What's more important is having a feeling that there are many people who are willing to put their money behind edgy stuff. And there is large enough audience which is willing to embrace such stuff and make it a success," he said.
At the same time, he rues how making their way to the Rs.100 crore club has become a "formula" in Bollywood.
"Unfortunately, getting to the Rs.100 crore club has become a formula now. I would love to be part of it, but not at the cost of people stepping out of theatres and abusing me. I don't want to be different for the sake of being different. I just want to tell interesting stories and entertain people," he said.
Tiwari's journey in Bollywood happened by chance as he wasn't looking out to make a feature film.
"'Chillar Party' came my way and it was too good for me to say no. I would like to thank Vikas Bahl for showing faith in me and pushing me to take the plunge. Fortunately, I haven't faced any difficulties in making any of my films," said Tiwari, who recently donned the director's hat to shoot a TV commercial for air freshener brand Air Wick.
Before he stepped into the film world, he had directed ads for brands like Glucon D, Tide, Amul, CEAT, Kaun Banega Crorepati - Koi Bhi Sawal Chhota Nahi Hota and McDonald's Happy Price Menu.
What is tougher to direct - a film or a TV ad?
"Both come with their own set of challenges," Tiwari said, adding: "The biggest challenge while making an ad film is the pressure of telling a story within a very short duration. You need to shoot it with precision because every second matters.
"Apart from focussing on getting the performances right, you need to get them right within the planned duration. In a feature film, this pressure is not there and you can purely concentrate on getting the performance right."