Director of India's first black-and-white single-take film walks Mumbai streets in a fox costume for promotions
Director-actor Hemwant Tiwari walks the streets of Mumbai, dressed in a fox's guise, and talks to people about his single-take black-and-white film Lomad.
Director-actor Hemwant Tiwari has been walking around Mumbai streets in the attire of a fox to promote his upcoming film titled Lomad. He has also offered a reward to anyone who may find even a single cut in his film which releases in theatres on August 4. In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Hemwant talks about his new film, the unique promotion strategy, and more. (Also read: Guddi Maruti recalls Mamta Kulkarni gave her cold treatment on set)
Elaborating on his promotions, Hemwant said, "I stand at any random place - dressed in my fox costume - and my board says "find a cut in my film and get double the price of your ticket'. Lomad is a 97-minute-long, single-take film. That means the camera didn't stop, nor did the actors, for the entire running time of the film. You can experience it in theatres, for the first time when the film releases in PVR cinemas on August 4."
Promoting film on the streets
Talking about the problems he has faced in his promotions, "The major hurdle was the budget for promotions. I didn't have any resources and had no clue what to do. Then, I dreamt of myself wearing a fox costume. The next day, I bought the fabric, got it stitched, and I was all set to launch my promotions. I hit the road talking to people. It has been a month now I am on the roads, beaches, cafes, trains, etc in Mumbai."
Promotions and BMC, Mumbai Police
Recalling how the local municipal body interrupted his antics, Hemwant said, "I was rudely taken away from the footpath by BMC and, in another incident, I was put in the police van and was made to sit in the police station. The weirdest (incident) was when BMC interfered. One evening, I stood on a footpath with my board, and next to me was a gol-gappa (street food) vendor. A BMC official came, took my pictures, and then manhandled my board. He even behaved in an unruly manner."
He added, "I was put in their van. I have no idea why, they just kept saying 'it is not allowed'. Another day, I stood near Marine Drive in the evening when a police van came announcing 'Baahar aao, baahar aao (Step out)'. I was again taken away in the police van and was made to sit in the police station.
They also told me 'not allowed'. It all happened in places where tea-sellers, massagewalas, and other such vendors take frequent rounds. I was thrown out of a mall and metro as well. I won't stop. Now I don't go out with the board anymore. Instead, I have printed cards and I go out in public and give away cards and inform my respected audience about the film."
Hemwant also said, "It's been an immense struggle to bring Lomad to the cinemas. Everyone for all these years asked me to release the film and even some reviews urged 'Please, release the film and let the world see what you and your team have created'. In order to release the film, I needed money. So I did all sorts of jobs for the money we needed - from working as a driver to teaching yoga, I did it all."
Lomad: Awards and film festivals
The film's first trailer was also a single-take shot. The film has travelled to various film festivals across the globe and already won 20 awards at various film festivals. These include the Best Experimental Film prize at Santa Monica Film Festival, the Best Male Actor award at Accolade Global Film Competition, and the Best Noir Film award at the Los Angeles Film Awards in 2o20. Lomad also won three awards at Vancouver Independent Film Festival in 2021 - the best actor, best first-time Filmmaker, and Best International feature film awards.
Hemwant also features in the upcoming film Lomad. Prior to Lomad, he was seen in the 2016 international TV series, Medinah which also stars Eric Roberts and Natasha Henstridge. Hemwant’s first outing, Zindagi Bahut Khoobsurat, was screened at the Court Metrage under the short film corner of the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.
It was legendary Hollywood filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock who first attempted to make a single-shot movie and some of the earliest experiments include Young and Innocent and Notorious. It was only in 1948 that he achieved what he started out to do. His film Rope was made with 10-minute-long single-takes as the 35-mm film cameras (used at the time for filmmaking) couldn’t shoot any longer takes.
In India, experiments have been on for a long time and a few films including the 2013 Bengali movie Rati Chakravyuh and the 2014 Tamil film Agadam were single-shot films. Both these were colour films while Lomad is black-and-white. The film also features Auroshikha Dey, Parimal Aloke, and Tirrtha Murbaadkar apart from Hemwant.