Anand Tiwari on Netflix’s Feels Like Ishq: Always loved to tell stories that question romance and love

Filmmaker Anand Tiwari describes himself as a romantic at heart, but says he is nervous to know how his short film for the Netflix anthology Feels Like Ishq will be received by a much younger generation.

Tiwari is a well-known figure in the film industry as he has entered the world of acting as well as directing. As an actor, he starred in movies like Udaan and Go Goa Gone. He ventured to direct with 2018’s Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar starrer Love per Square Foot and later co-directed the Amazon show Bandish Bandits.

For Feels Life Ishq, Tiwari directed the Star Host segment, which chronicles the meeting—and eventual bond—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 fear is that one day I will tell my story and no one cares. So I’m in a hurry to tell as many stories as I can. Somehow I want to tell the story of love for the generation I belong to.

“This film is important to me because now I’m telling the story of love, not for the millennials but for Gen Z and I don’t know if my assumptions about love and relationships will resonate with them. I’m nervous (to see) if a 15-year-old will resonate with Tara and Aditya’s love story today,” Tiwari told PTI.

The 38-year-old director said Star Host aligned his look of love and romance. In the complexity and drama of relationships, Tiwari often finds entertainment.

“I’ve always liked to tell stories that question romance and love. I see a lot of humor in romance and I like to deal with it. Sometimes you take romance or life a little too seriously. I find romance not only in ‘romantic’ relationships, but also in everyday life,” says Tiwari.

He came aboard 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 not only gave him the chance to tell a love story, but also to record it in Mahabaleshwar, which was a much-needed rest for him after last year’s coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown.

“If you see the story of Aditya and Tara, you will see that they both want to achieve two completely different things. The attempt is that they rub off on each other a bit. Teach each other a few lessons without trying to openly.

“I also missed the hills thanks to the lockdown. So we decided to bring all our fantasies together and tell this story,” he added.

With six contemporary love stories, Feels Like Ishq seems like an exception in Bollywood, which thrived on larger-than-life romances for decades but has lately ignored the genre.

Tiwari believes that while there aren’t enough romantic comedies being made these days, it takes one good movie to revive the genre.

“I believe that storytelling, like fashion, also has a seasonal character. It’s a good thing we don’t make too many romantic comedies right now, because many filmmakers are slightly older than the rom-com generation.

“If you have filmmakers in the age group that is now in their mid-twenties to late twenties, when they get the chance to tell their story, they’ll be much more faithful to the world that will be watching them.”

Tiwari said he wrote a love story in college that he will never make because “it’s no longer relevant.”

“Love stories have changed thanks to social media… So I don’t remember how people have romance in their teens. My voice is not authentic. But it will come back, not just romantic comedies, but romantic dramas. It’s just about time,” he added.

Feels Like Ishq, produced by Mutant Films and Awesomeness TV, is slated to release on Friday.

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