He was born in Bihar, worked in call centres to pay for his acting course and is now acting with Hollywood stars Eric Roberts and Natasha Henstridge in international TV series Medinah. Hemwant Tiwari says that, while working on this project, he was excited to see a heartwarming example of “diversity” as people from almost 17 countries came together like a family and absorbed different cultures.
“While working on this project, the thing that really excited me was the diversity of people I was working with. Almost 17 countries, including the cast and the crew, were working like a family and understood different cultures,” Tiwari told IANS in an email interview.
“We used to have breakfast together, talk about their countries, families and their cultures. The film scenarios in their country are very well organised and I loved shooting every bit of it,” he added. He also said that he never faced racial discrimination of any kind.
“I haven’t received any racial comments till now. However, for some of them, Bollywood is still just about dancing while a few believed that now it is changing with some amazing films coming from India like ‘Lunchbox’ and ‘My Name Is Khan’. So, yes, we have people who see Indian movies just as dancing around trees and we have people who really appreciate it,” he said.
After completing his schooling and college from New Delhi, he started working in call centres to collect money for acting and then moved to Mumbai. After some time, he realised that it was not easy to get a foothold in Bollywood so he began teaching yoga and simultaneously took an acting course under Barry John.
“I gave all the auditions in town continuously for years and did whatever ad short films came my way. I also assisted on advertisements and films just to keep my mind sane. Somehow, one of my videos went to the creator of the show ‘Ahmed Al Baker’ which was casting for this international series ‘Medinah’ and when I got to know about the script and the character, I said yes… and the next thing I know was that I was shooting for it,” he shared about his journey to Hollywood.
So, does he wish to work in Bollywood too?
“Would love to play all the roles in Bollywood as an actor and I want to do everything from masala, dance, entertainment, thriller, romance and biopic as well,” he said. “Every role excites me as I really enjoy the process of working on my character as that’s the best part as an actor and comedy is one thing I find difficult but would see what will happen when it comes my way. I am ready to face all challenges which will come on my way whether it’s Bollywood or Hollywood,” he added.
His film “Zindagi Bahut Khoobsurat” was screened at the Court Metrage, the short film corner of the 66th edition of Cannes Film Festival, in 2013. Also his short film “Panaah” was very well received by the critics and the audiences. He has also directed and acted in a short film called “Salaam” and he assisted a few advertisements and films as well.
So, does he wish to achieve the same success as Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone have received internationally?
“Who doesn’t want to join the league of Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone? it is their stardom that opens up space for me to the world. We get known first by them and then when they see our work they get impressed. I am definitely looking forward to be part of many other Hollywood projects.
“What I am looking for now is good work and this platform (Medinah) gives me a good role as one of the leads in the Hollywood series… and definitely, if it opens up my market in Hollywood it would be great and if I’m able to make a mark like other Indian actors who have done this…
“This kind of experience really opens up your way to wider audiences and you are known globally and it really feels proud when people appreciate your efforts worldwide,” he said.