Lord Curzon Ki Haveli first Indian film entirely shot on a single lens camera

Anshuman Jha’s debut directorial Lord Curzon Ki Haveliis a benchmark in technology. Photo: Hardly Anonymous Communications 

Actor Anshuman Jha is known for his thought-provoking choices. And with Arjun Mathur and Rasika Dugal in the leads along with Marvel girl Zoha Rahman, Paresh Pahuja, Tanmay Dhanania and Star Wars actor Garrick Hagon, he already has a dream cast in his directorial debut, Lord Curzon Ki Haveli.

As the film, which was shot in the UK last year, is nearing completion, a rare and interesting fact has come to the fore—Anshuman has shot his entire debut film on a single lens (35mm). A feat no other Hindi mainstream filmmaker has even attempted.

Cult classics like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Akira Kurosawa’s Rushmore are films that used the single lens minimalist formula in the last century. At a time when many filmmakers today are obsessed with amassing gear and stocking up on the latest toys, the filmmaker is setting a reminder on how much can be done with so little, out of choice.

Notable iconic films like Chinatown, Tokyo Story, The Royal Tennenbaums and Birdman have been shot like this, while Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu is known for shooting his entire repertoire on a single 50mm lens. On this subject, Noam Kroll on the website, noamkroll.com, says, “If a director has one job, it’s to ensure their movie feels cohesive. To get all the parts work in harmony so that there is a consistent tone and point of view driving the finished piece. Shooting on a single lens provides this connective tissue, no matter how dynamic the film may be. A movie may be shot across many locations, at different times of day or with different tones throughout each sequence. There can be variance on so many levels, but capturing everything through the restricted view of a single lens keeps it all grounded. It glues all the pieces together, and that translates to a better audience experience.”

Award-winning writer, Bikas Mishra, who has written the script of Lord Curzon…, says, “Anshuman had made the choice on the writing table itself that he will shoot the film on a single lens.” The two cinematographers—French DOP Jean Marc Selva (AFC) and his Indian counterpart, Ramanuj Dutta—call it a “brave and ballsy choice” by the first-time filmmaker. “He had a very clear vision on the film and is not afraid to take risks as an artiste,” stated Jean Marc.

Anshuman states, “While I had lens options at my disposal, I chose a single lens narrative as I wanted it to be as close to the human vision as possible—consistently. 35mm gave me that. A single lens film has a subconscious viewing affect. And I wanted the film to not just look but feel cohesive, a consistent point of view driving the finished piece. Lord Curzon Ki Haveli is a contemporary homage to my favorite filmmaker— Alfred Hitchcock and his classic film, The Rope.”

Lord Curzon Ki Haveli is produced by Golden Ratio Films and Anshuman’s First Ray Films, and is scheduled for a release later this year.

Anshuman made his acting debut in Love Sex Aur Dhokha in 2010 and has done movies like the action thriller Lakadbaggha and the web series, Mastram among others.




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