Vivek J. Tiwary: Defying Expectations

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Author, award- winning producer, and chief executive officer Vivek J. Tiwary spoke to an audience of close to100 people Thursday, September 4, 2014, at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Tiwary’s presentation gave insight into his accomplishments within the entertainment industry as a person of Indian origin. Beginning his lecture with “So a gay, Jew walks into a bar…,” Tiwary delves into the unlikely success story of his historical mentor and Beatles manager; Brian Epstein.

This event was organized by The India Center in partnership with the UCF Global Perspectives Office and was the first event of the season for both offices.

Tiwary is the author of the graphic novel “The Fifth Beatle”. The novel highlights the life of Brian Epstein; who indeed walked into a bar during the 1960’s and discovered one of the world’s greatest pop bands – The Beatles. As a young Indian man, Tiwary was expected to follow a professional career in his family’s business. He went on to attend Wharton School of Business where he contemplated a career path in the arts and entertainment.

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It was during this period where Tiwary found a connection with Epstein. As phrased by Tiwary, “Epstein, a gay Jew in a dirty port town and him as a 26 year old running around in New York wanting to write comics and put punk rock albums on Broadway.”

Tiwary received his first Tony nomination after producing a revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” on Broadway. At the time he was the only producer of color in Broadway and also the youngest. He is now CEO and founder of Tiwary Entertainment Group Ltd. Tiwary’s message to the audience was that “no dream is too impossible, and no person too unlikely to reach that dream”. He encouraged the audience to pursue their dreams passionately and to seek-help when needed.

When asked what to do when a market does not exist for one’s particular interests (in this case women’s hockey), Tiwary responded by saying that there is a market for everything. When the market is small; open it. When there is no market; create it. The size of a market does not define its significance.

Tiwary’s presentation concluded with the inspiration he derived from Brian Epstein: to defy all expectations. A tasteless joke could become the beginning of a revolution. For Tiwary, the joke is on all those who disbelieved a person of his background could succeed in the entertainment industry.

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In addition to the Global Perspectives Office, sponsors of the presentation included the UCF Global Peace and Security Studies Program, UCF Student Government Association, UCF Diplomacy Program, UCF Middle Eastern Studies Program, The India Center at UCF, UCF China-Taiwan Cross-Strait Program, UCF Kurdish Political Studies Initiative, UCF Human Trafficking Awareness Program, Lawrence J. Chastang and the Chastang Foundation, UCF International Services Center, UCF Political Science Department, UCF LIFE, UCF Book Festival 2013 in association with the Morgridge International Reading Center and the Global Connections Foundation.

Jessica Rodriguez

By, Jessica Rodriguez

India Center Fellow, Fall 2014