Filmmaker-writer Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari talks about her book ‘Mapping Love’ and also discusses her upcoming film based on the life of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy and author Sudha Murthy. The 41-year-old says that the one week she spent with them helped her understand her purpose in life. Excerpts from the interview:
How did ‘Mapping Love’ happen?
Actually, I started writing this book ‘Mapping Love’ about three years ago. I had almost finished about nine chapters before the pandemic hit. After that, I started writing every day and I finished writing the book this year.
Does the book have little bit of you in it?
No, all my stories are always very visually layered. As storytellers you create characters and insights. So, this is one of those stories which I wanted to write. It is poetic in nature. I wanted to express my thoughts as poetically as possible. This expression wouldn’t have been possible in any other medium and that’s why I started writing ‘Mapping Love’.
Will filmmaking take a backseat because of writing?
I think it all comes parallelly because during the process of writing this book, I was also working on four ad-films. I also started the preparation for ‘Panga’ and completed it. [Then] I did a short film ‘Ghar Ki Murgi’. [Basically] it’s love and whatever you love, be it writing or filmmaking, you are going to treat it equally. But sometimes priorities [can] change.
How do you manage your time between filmmaking, writing, and family?
I think my whole idea of living a very mindful life helps me to manage time. I am extremely disciplined. I do compartmentalize my day which also includes two hours of ‘me time’ and doing things that I want to do. So, I think I am always following a routine. It just helps me to be more focused and also create more. Honestly, I am a homebody and my life revolves around my home, my garden and my plants.
Do you have any plans of adapting ‘Mapping Love’ as a film?
I would first want everybody to read it. I shouldn’t be thinking about making it into a movie right now. I want the book to take its own course because I didn’t write the book with the intension of making it into a movie. I wrote it because I wanted to write a novel. Writing a novel and writing a movie are very different [from each other].
What inspired you to write the book?
I am an avid reader, so I think I just wrote it because I love to create. My life has always been very fluid and I didn’t plan on anything as such. What happens with me is that I kind of keep creating. So, it was a very organic process of coming up with a thought; when you start liking what you are writing and you feel that it is going somewhere. That’s exactly how ‘Mapping Love’ was written. For me writing a book was like trying a new recipe and checking it if it is good or not. I wanted to test myself.
Your source of inspiration…
I am a big fan of [Japanese author] Haruki Murakami’s writings. I really like his books and the way he writes. There is something about his style of writing which deeply touches me. One day, I actually googled to find out what his everyday-schedule is like because I wanted to know how creative people function. During the entire course, I realised that Murakami, when he starts writing a book, follows a daily schedule till he finishes. That requires a certain amount of discipline.
I also like Sudha Murthy’s writings a lot. The language is so simple that every person, including my mother and people from her generation, can just pick up her books and read. We need youngsters to start reading. I would love to write a children’s book. Most of the time we keep procrastinating and we keep doubting ourselves and that is the reason before we start anything new, we end it.
Tell us a little bit about your film with Narayan and Sudha Murthy.
The whole journey of speaking to Sudha Murthy, Narayana Murthy and their son has been a very inspiring. And when you are writing a life story of such big personalities you have to constantly be in touch with them and keep talking to them. I am still in the process of finishing the screen play, but for me the whole process of interacting with the family has been a life experience. A lot of my thoughts changed after I met them. The one week that I spend with the family made me understand my purpose of life and what I can do for the society.