Vivek Agnihotri is an Indian filmmaker and screenwriter. He is also an accomplished author. He is one of the board members of the Indian Central Board of Film Certification. He also represents the Indian Cinema at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Before entering the Indian entertainment industry, he worked as a tech-savvy at various reputed and well-known Indian organisations.
Vivek Agnihotri was born on Friday, 21 December 1973 (age 48 years; as of 2021) in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius. Soon after completing his school studies, Vivek Agnihotri went to the School of Social Science at Bhopal University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree, and he pursued a master’s degree in Planning (Economics) from the same college. Thereafter, Vivek Agnihotri took an advertising course at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi. Later, he did an Organisation & Management Course (CSS) at Harvard University.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Dr Prabhu Dayal Agnihotri, and his mother’s name is Sharda Agnihotri.
Wife & Children
Vivek Agnihotri got married to Pallavi Joshi on 28 June 1997. Pallavi Joshi is a renowned Indian television actress.
The couple has two children, a daughter named Maalika, and a son named Manan.
Soon after finishing the advertising course at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Vivek Agnihotri began working as a technical person at various renowned Indian ventures, and he worked in the advertising department of J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather, MacCann, Maggi, Nestle, and P&G. He then worked with Gillette and Coca Cola in its Product Launch Team. Later, in Delhi, he started his own advertising venture named Art Beat, which was soon regarded as the top ten fastest-growing advertising agencies in India by Business Today magazine.
Indian Entertainment Industry
Later, Vivek left the corporate sector and stepped into the Indian entertainment industry as a screenwriter. His first documentary film was Social Justice in India,’ which was an award-winning documentary film. Soon, he established his own production house, Vivek Agnihotri Creates. Under this production house, he produced and directed many commercials for renowned brands and institutions such as Vicks, Godrej, P&G, Dainik Bhaskar, Government of India, and the Blind Association of India. Later, he won the A&M Gold award and Ad Club Gold award for his creative ad film on AIDS which pointed towards his contribution to the welfare of society.
The stories of popular television shows such as Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum (2015), Rishtey (2002), Saturday Suspense (1997), X-Zone (1998), Anubandh, and Asambhav (2004) were written by Vivek Agnihotri.
A crime thriller film named Chocolate was directed by Vivek Agnihotri in 2005. The film was a remake of a renowned Hollywood crime thriller film, which was released in 1995. In 2007, Vivek’s film ‘Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal’ performed average at the box office and was declared a flop. His 2014 film ‘Zid’ also performed poorly at the box office. The film ‘Buddha In A Traffic Jam’ is based on Urban Naxalism and was released in 2014. In this film, Vivek Agnihotri exposed the nexus between the Naxals, Media, NGOs, terrorists, and academicians in India. The Left parties in India protested against the release of the film, and it was delayed for five years. Vivek Agnihotri faced a few violent assaults on him by his opponents during the making of this film, when he toured all across India to collect information for the film. ‘Muhammad & Urvashi’ was his next project, which was a short film released in 2017, and this film was honoured with national and international accolades. A film based on the mysterious death of India’s second Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri was picturised by Vivek Agnihotri in 2019. The name of the film was The Tashkent Files for which Vivek Agnihotri won the Film & TV director’s association IFTDA award. Later, the noted educational institutions – IIM Ahmedabad and Media Studies of Mumbai University added the case study of The Tashkent Files to their curriculum. Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files was released in 2022, and this film picturised the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990. The statements of the first-generation victims of the Kashmir genocide were recorded and collected by Vivek Agnihotri, his wife, and his daughter by touring all across the world. This film was announced to be released in August 2021, but due to the COVID-19 second lockdown in India, its release was delayed.
Apart from being an accomplished film director and author, Vivek Agnihotri has also served as the chairman of the international jury of the International Film Festival of India, the jury of the National Film Awards, and the Secretary of the Indian Film Director’s association and Screenwriters Association of India. He is a member of the CBFC board and also represents the Indian Council for Cultural Relations as its cultural officer.
In 2018, a book titled ‘Urban Naxals’ was published by Vivek Agnihotri. In that year, this book was regarded as the best selling book of the year.
In 2020, Vivek Agnihotri released his second book titled ‘Who Killed Shastri,’ which was critically acclaimed all across the country during the COVID-19 lockdown in India.
- In 2018, Vivek Agnihotri attracted controversy when Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta put allegations on Vivek Agnihotri that in 2005, during the shooting of the crime thriller Hindi film Chocolate, Vivek Agnihotri asked Tanushree to strip her clothes and give a close-up scene while dancing with her male co-star Irrfan Khan. All the allegations were denied by Vivek Agnihotri, who filed a defamation case against Tanushree Dutta soon after the incident in a local police station in Maharashtra.
- In September 2018, Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar tweeted against an Indian politician P. C. George, who called a rape victim a prostitute. In the reply to her tweet, Vivek Agnihotri stated,
Where is the placard – ‘#MeTooProstituteNun’?”
Consequently, the Twitter handle of Vivek Agnihotri was temporarily blocked by Twitter, and he was asked to delete the tweets against Swara Bhaskar. His tweet was wrongly interpreted, and later, he clarified and tweeted,
I was making a point about the placarding by liberals at selective instances of alleged perpetrators belonging to the Hindu community.”
- In May 2020, Vivek Agnihotri shared a photo of Ratan Tata on Twitter in which Ratan Tata was posing with a Nano car. Vivek Agnihotri tweeted,
What makes NANO the safest car for women.”
On the top of the image, it was written,
There is simply no way to get gang-raped in here.”
Various Twitter users slammed Vivek Agnihotri for sharing such clumsy tweets, and consequently, he deleted the tweet after some time.
- In March 2022, soon after the release of the film The Kashmir Files, Vivek Agnihotri put allegations on the team of ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ for not inviting the cast of the film ‘The Kashmir Files’ on Kapil Sharma’s show. Vivek Agnihotri alleged that the comedian restricted the entry of his film on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ show as The Kashmir Files’ did not have a popular star cast. Later, Kapil Sharma was spotted clarifying the allegations on several social media platforms.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- In 2014, Vivek Agnihotri won the Best Writer and Director award at Jakarta International Film Festival for the movie Buddha in a Traffic Jam.
- In 2019, Vivek Agnihotri won the Best Screenplay (Dialogues) Award at the 67th National Film Awards for the movie The Tashkent Files.
- His full name is Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri.
- Vivek Agnihotri follows a non-vegetarian diet.
- According to some media sources, in the Indian entertainment industry, Vivek Agnihotri is considered the Thriller King.
- On several well-known global platforms, Vivek Agnihotri is often spotted delivering public speeches primarily on the socio-political issues such as ‘Creative Thinking’ and ‘Innovation.’ These platforms include Ted, Harvard University Conclave, Neeti Aayog, Ideas India Conclave, World Hindu Congress, Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, and FICCI. He is often invited by various well-known international universities such as Purdue, Columbia, UNC, Houston University, Ohio State University in the USA, Oxford University, and Kings College in the UK as a guest speaker. Various distinguished educational institutions in India like IITs, IIMs, National Law University, BHU, JNU, DU, and Mumbai University often invite Vivek Agnihotri to speak on various social-political issues of the country.
- In 2009, Vivek Agnihotri and his wife, Pallavi Joshi, established an NGO named ‘I am Buddha Foundation,’ which focuses on training those young people who are not capable to establish themselves in society. The NGO tries to divert their minds towards creative thinking through training. Several deprived children and unprivileged families across Maharashtra were financially helped by the ‘I am Buddha Foundation’ during the COVID-19 lockdown in India.
- In 2014, Vivek Agnihotri delivered a speech at Jadavpur University and Jawaharlal Nehru University for the screening of his film Buddha in a Traffic Jam, and his views on the release of the film were supported by Indian politician Smriti Irani.
- Vivek Agnihotri pioneered a social movement in the USA to raise funds for the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy when he was studying in the USA.
- Most of the male family members of Vivek Agnihotri were the freedom fighters of India, and they were honoured by the President of India for their participation in the Indian struggle for independence.
- A YouTube channel titled #VRATV was started by Vivek Agnihotri when the COVID-19 pandemic hit India in 2020, and it telecasted the up to date information related to the COVID-19 disease in India and all across the globe.
- Vivek Agnihotri is passionate about travelling, and he is a noted columnist. On various social media platforms, Vivek Agnihotri often posts pictures and videos of his upcoming books and films and is often spotted promoting them. Vivek Agnihotri is a social media influencer, and over 290k people follow his Instagram account. More than 88k people follow his Facebook page. Vivek Agnihotri actively shares various posts on his Twitter handle and more than 708k people follow his Twitter handle.
- Although Vivek Agnihotri supports Narendra Modi, he doesn’t follow the Bharatiya Janata Party.
- Vivek Agnihotri is a fitness fanatic. He regularly does physical exercise at the gym and often shares pictures of his gym sessions on social media.
- Vivek Agnihotri is often featured by various famous Indian magazines and tabloids in their articles.
- The democratic & liberal state of the USA -Rhode Island honoured Vivek Agnihotri with a recognition certificate for his film ‘The Kashmir Files’ in March 2022 and officially recognised the Kashmir Genocide that happened in 1990.