Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (born 15 October 1979) is an Indian filmmaker and writer. After working in advertising for several years, she made her debut by directing the comedy-drama Nil Battey Sannata (2016). The film garnered great reviews and Tiwari went on to direct its Tamil remake entitled Amma Kanakku. She had previously served as the Executive Creative Director at Leo Burnett before she moved on to pursue a filmmaking career. Tiwari won the Filmfare Award for Best Director for the romantic comedy-drama Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017).[1]

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Tiwari in 2018
Born (1979-10-15) 15 October 1979 (age 44)
Notable work
SpouseNitesh Tiwari

Early life and background


Ashwiny Iyer was born on 15 October 1979 in a Tamil speaking family and grew up in the suburb of Mulund, Mumbai. She studied at St. Mary's Convent High School, Mulund and did her higher studies from SIES College of Commerce and Economics. She is married to writer-director Nitesh Tiwari.[2][3]





A gold medalist in commercial arts from Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai, Ashwiny spent 15 years in the advertising agency Leo Burnett (India). She won several awards like Cannes Lions, New York festival, One show, Promax and the Goafest Awards. She quit Leo Burnett to follow her passion in filmmaking.[4][5]



Work on short films and directorial debut (2012-2016)


Iyer made her first short film What's for Breakfast in 2012. In 2016, she made her feature film directorial debut with the comedy-drama Nil Battey Sannata starring Swara Bhasker in the lead role.[6] The film was produced by Colour Yellow Productions (Aanand L Rai) in association with JAR Pictures and Opticus Inc. and presented by Eros International .[7] Its story was inspired by a contestant from the quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by Amitabh Bachchan which inspired many Indian viewers.[8][9] Released under the title of The New Classmate[10][11] internationally, Nil Battey Sannata received positive reviews upon release, with praise for Tiwari's direction and sensitive handling of the subject matter.[12] The film emerged as a commercial failure at the box-office.[13] It earned Iyer the Filmfare Award for Best Debut Director.[14] She remade the film in Tamil as Amma Kanakku with Amala Paul in the lead role, which released on 24 June in the same year.[15][16] She was selected as one of the "Powerful Women in 2016" in the Femina poll and was a part of Grazia Women Achievers 2016.[citation needed] She was a speaker at TEDx Bangalore 2016 on women, films and self-empowerment.[citation needed]

Success (2017-present)


Iyer achieved her breakthrough with the romantic comedy-drama Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017) starring Kriti Sanon, Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao in lead roles. Based on Nicolas Barreau's novel The Ingredients of Love, the film received widespread critical acclaim upon release, with high praise for its direction, screenplay, dialogue, soundtrack, setting and the performances of the cast. Devesh Sharma praised the film in his four stars out of five review for Filmfare; he praised Tiwari for her versatility and wrote that the film, "will give you ample laughs throughout and you’ll walk away from the theatre with a satisfied smile on your face."[17] It emerged as a major commercial success at the box-office, grossing over ₹60 crore (US$7.5 million) worldwide.[18] Bareilly Ki Barfi earned Iyer the Filmfare Award for Best Director.[19]

In 2018, Iyer teamed up with Kangana Ranaut, Neena Gupta, Richa Chadda and Jassie Gill to make Panga, a film about a new-age family that challenges stereotypes.[20] The film released on 24 January 2020 and was critically acclaimed.[21][22] It emerged as the tenth highest-grossing Hindi film of the year.

She signed a two-film deal with Ekta Kapoor 's Balaji Motion Pictures from which one she will direct and another she will produce along with Ekta.

She turned author with her debut fiction novel, titled Mapping Love[23] which released on 1 August 2021 to glowing reviews.

Iyer is the co-founder of the production house, Earthsky Pictures, under which she has produced Break Point, a docu-series based on Tennis legends, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, and several ad films.

She is also directing the life story of Mr. Narayan Murthy and Mrs. Sudha Murthy.[24]


Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Director Producer Co-writer Note(s)
2013 What's For Breakfast? Yes No Yes
2016 Nil Battey Sannata Yes No Yes
Amma Kanakku Yes No No Remake of Nil Battey Sannata in Tamil
2017 Bareilly Ki Barfi Yes No No
2020 Panga Yes No Yes
Ghar Ki Murgi Yes Yes No
2021 Ankahi Kahaniya Yes No No [25]
Break Point Yes Yes No [26]
2022 Faadu Yes No No [27]
2023 Tarla No Yes No [28]
Bawaal No Yes Yes [29]
Tumse Na Ho Payega No Yes No [30]

Awards and honours

Year Film Award Category Result
2017 Nil Battey Sannata Filmfare Awards Best Debut Director Won
2018 Bareilly Ki Barfi Best Director Won
IIFA Awards Best Director Nominated
Screen Awards Best Director Nominated
Zee Cine Awards Best Director Won


  1. ^ "Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari: Director With A Purpose". Forbes India. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  2. ^ "Advertising's classic love stories: Nitesh Tiwari and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity". 9 February 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Working with Aamir Khan dream come true for any director: Ashwini Iyer Tiwari". The Indian Express. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari exits Leo Burnett | Advertising". Campaign India. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari bids adieu to Leo Burnett". 30 October 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Nil Battey Sannata Movie Box office collection report 2016". The Times of India. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Swara Bhaskar: 'Nil Battey Sannata' trailer launched". The Times of India. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  8. ^ "KBC: Star-struck". 7 June 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Grateful to Aanand L. Rai: 'Nil Battey Sannata' director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari". The Indian Express. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  10. ^ Freja Dam (9 October 2015). "LFF 2015 Women Directors: Meet Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari – 'The New Classmate'". IndieWire. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  11. ^ aanews (3 April 2016). "'The New Classmate' tells the story of a mother's dream | Asian American Press". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  12. ^ Bala (27 September 2015). "Swara Bhaskar wins best actress title in China". The Indian Express. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Nil Battey Sannatta - Movie - Box Office India". Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  14. ^ "Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari bags Best Debut Director Filmfare Award for Nil Battey Sannata - Planet Bollywood News". Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  15. ^ Rao, Subha J. (22 June 2016). "Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari on Nil Battey Sannata, star cast and more". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Dhanush persuaded Ashwiny to make Amma Kanakku". Deccanchronicle. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Movie Review: Bareilly Ki Barfi". Filmfare.
  18. ^ "Bareilly Ki Barfi - Movie - Box Office India". Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  19. ^ Jha, Subhash (22 January 2018). "Filmfare awards swing away from the expected, honour the unexpected". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari announces Panga with Kangana Ranaut and Neena Gupta". The Indian Express. 21 August 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Panga Movie Review: Kangana Ranaut enlivens Ashwini Iyer Tiwari's writing in this soul stirring film". PINKVILLA. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  22. ^ Chatterjee 5, Pramit (24 January 2020). "'Panga' Review: Kangana Ranaut's Sports Flick Is Female Empowerment at Its Most Practical". Mashable India. Retrieved 24 January 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ "Filmmaker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari turns author with 'Mapping Love'". The Times of India. 12 February 2021.
  24. ^ "Director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari says it's challenging to write the 'Murthy' biopic". The Economic Times. 7 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari on Ankahi Kahaniya: 'It was important to look inward and understand the idea of love'". 11 September 2021.
  26. ^ "Break Point directors Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari: 'It felt as if we had known Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes forever'". 1 October 2021.
  27. ^ "Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari to make her digital debut with SonyLiv's Faadu". 27 March 2021.
  28. ^ "Huma Qureshi transforms into home chef Tarla Dalal, see first photo". The Indian Express. 20 April 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  29. ^ "Bawaal first look: A dapper Varun Dhawan rides a bike in streets of Lucknow". The Indian Express. 19 April 2022. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  30. ^ "Ishwak Singh-Mahima Makwana to star in Bas Karo Aunty: 'Our film captures the mood and zeitgeist of the nation'". The Indian Express. 31 May 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.