Mumbai-based filmmaker Hemwant Tiwari believes a fox lurks inside every individual. “We, as humans, are capable of doing extreme things. Situations decide whether we are good or bad,” he says.
This, he says, was the thought that led to the making of ‘Lomad’, India's first single-shot feature film in black-and-white. The movie has so far swept 24 awards at major film festivals.
The title, according to him, is derived from the Hindi word ‘Lomady’, which means fox. The film, which will hit theatres on August 4, revolves around two former lovers who meet after a gap of 10 years.
The movie, he says, has been influenced unconsciously by legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological drama ‘Rope’, which was made to look like a single-take film. “I never intended to write a one-shot film. It was an unconscious effort,” says Tiwari, who was first introduced to Hitchcock when he was pursuing an acting course.
“I heard about Al Pacino or Robert De Niro only after I landed in Mumbai to actively pursue my dream of entering films. I didn't have cable TV or DTH while growing up. I also didn’t have access to cinemas. ‘Rope’ was the first Hitchcock film I watched. I remember being amazed by what he did in that era,” Tiwari says.
“I came to Mumbai with the dream of making it big in films. Initially, I would work as an assistant. I also started teaching yoga. I was soon cast in ‘Life is Beautiful’, a short film that went to the Cannes Film Festival. Something beautiful happened to me after that. I got the opportunity to work in a TV series ‘Medinah’, which also featured Julia Roberts' brother Eric Roberts."
‘Medinah’ was a good break for the struggling actor-filmmaker, but his dream to direct his film was still unfulfilled.
With the money he earned from the international series, he came back to Mumbai. “I decided to invest the entire amount in directing my film. That’s how 'Lomad' happened,” he says.
However, life was not easy for Tiwari. Covid struck and it soon became difficult for him to survive in Mumbai. “I sold my bike first. I slept in a colleague’s van for four days. I also doubled as a driver and a yoga instructor,” he said.
However, now, the filmmaker is on cloud nine as his film is set for a theatrical release. To promote his film, Tiwari has been roaming around the streets of Mumbai in a fox costume. “I am also offering people double the price of the ticket if they can find a cut scene in this single-take film,” he says with a laugh.
The film is one hour and 40 minutes long. According to him, there were several challenges while writing and making the film. “As actors, we had to perform non-stop since it is a single-shot movie. The camera work was also non-stop,” he says.
Tiwari admits that a few jury members decided to watch ‘Lomad’ twice to find out at least one cut throughout the movie. “They were amazed when they could not find even one,” he says. He reveals his eyes welled up when his film first made it to a film festival.
Tiwari also applauds his cast and crew for making the movie a success. “We received an amazing response at film festivals, but the real test is when the film hit theatres,” he says.