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Nikhil Chandwani: from a college dropout to an author and filmmaker of international repute

Harshith Mallya
10th Sep 2014
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Like most Indian youngsters, Nikhil Chandwani started out in life in a conventional manner by taking up engineering. What happened in the next few years was anything but conventional.Nikhil is an author, documentary filmmaker and photographer of international repute. He recently won the Conspiracy Novel of the Year Award for his book ‘Coded Conspiracy’ from the American Literary Forum Society. He is also the author of a poetry book which was the highest selling book in India last year.

Overcoming the odds

Nikhil was having a tough time in college, after he failed in many of his subjects. His parents were really worried about him and his future. He had a passion for writing and so he worked on a book while in college.

At one point, he even went to the extreme of photoshopping a fake marks sheet to pacify his distraught parents.

But things began looking up eventually. He published his debut novel, ‘I Wrote Your Name in the Sky and yours and Yours Too’ in his second year of college, and a poetry book after that.

His parents came to know about his novel only when it was reported in the newspaper. They were, however, sceptical about him taking writing as a full time career. But after more successful releases and royalty checks slowly pouring in, they were happy that Nikhil had found something that he loved doing and would be able to survive and thrive off it.

The writer has a strong fascination for all things unsung and unspoken. One of his earlier books, titled ‘Unsung Words’, is a collection of 55 poems on unvoiced teen emotions, romance and heart-touching tales of separation.

Hollywood calling

Nikhil has worked with various Hollywood actors as a script writer and a creative director. His shows include ‘Into Kenya Safari’ which was shot in Nairobi, on an African wildlife safari for an international travel channel and couple of healthy budget Hollywood movies.

Nikhil also firmly believes in the law of attraction.

He is a prolific writer and writes political columns, scripts for TV shows, fictional stories for various production houses, and national magazines and newspapers.

He is also in the process of scripting and co-directing an upcoming Hollywood movie, with a $40M budget possibly starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Filming documentaries and exploring the wild


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Nikhil feels the most at home in the jungles of Africa and India and loves living off the grid.

Nikhil has been a vegetarian for almost 16 years of his life, but living in the wild forced him to adapt and be more adventurous with his food habits. He narrated an incident where he was bitten by a snake during one of his shoots. But he got his revenge soon enough though as he and his team were able to capture the snake and then eat it!

His documentary, ‘Escape to Kenya’ also won an award in America, and Nikhil is hopeful that it may get shortlisted in the Academy Awards next year.

He was also considered as the first youth literary all rounder of the world by Wall St. Analyst.

Accolades and awards

The American Society in presence of President Obama recently awarded Nikhil the title of ‘Artist of the Year’. This made him the first Asian to win this honour from the prestigious American Society.

He is also working as an assistant director on another upcoming Hollywood movie titled, ‘Saffron Skies’.

His other achievements include the UK Writers' Award, National Award from the Indian government and ‘Artist of the Year’ by Cylo Press.

Future plans


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He is also all set to become the youngest Bollywood producer in India. He recently completed recording music for one of his upcoming movie, the shooting for which will start from 15th September in West Bengal.The movie will star Ravi Bhushan Bhartiya of ‘Lunchbox’ and ‘Pan Singh Thomar’ fame, directed by Viplab Majumdar. The lead female singer is Sa Re Ga Ma Fame Sniti Mishra and Music Director of this Movie is Pandit Ronu Majumdar.

He is also working on a movie rumoured to star Nicholas Cage. The main plot of the movie is about a cancer survivor who roams around India on a Royal Enfield bullet on a soul transforming journey. It will be produced by Sumeet Kumar, the Founder of Mystic Wanderer Innovative Media Pvt. Ltd.

He is also the CEO and Founder of a very successful private limited company which deals with investments and financial deals. The company also works for various publishing houses and magazines for creative and financial control.

Inspiration

One among Nikhil favourite movies is ‘Shawshank Redemption’. He also loves watching documentaries about travel and wildlife and is a fan of Anurag Kashyap and his movies. His biggest inspiration is the Founder of E.C.W. and current WWE manager, Paul Heyman.

His advice to aspiring writers is to keep writing about whatever they are passionate about, without worrying too much about what kind of content does well commercially. “One should create an offline and online presence to help carve their niche.”

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