'I sold my bike and did different jobs to fund my film': Independent filmmaker Hemwant Tiwari on his one-cut film 'Lomad'
"It was the only way, I did not have any other option," says actor Hemwant Tiwari, who hit the streets, shopping malls, beaches, metro stations and other centres across various cities to promote his independent film 'Lomad', which is touted to be the first black and white one-cut feature film. Hemwant, who dressed as a fox and reached out to people at West Bengal film centre Nandan in Kolkata recently ahead of the August 25 release, interacted with IBNS-TWF correspondent Souvik Ghosh on the film.
Q. Is the unique campaigning style a well thought out plan or did it just happen organically?
A. No, it was not a well thought out plan but I was very clear in my head that if time comes and even I have to shout on the streets, I would do that for my film. It was just a very far-sighted idea. I never thought that it would actually happen in real life. In the beginning, I was hesitant because people were not reciprocating the way I wanted them to. However, I took time to present myself, modify my approach and gradually grabbed the attention of people. So the campaign started very organically.
Q. Since 'Lomad' is a single-shot film, how challenging was the shooting process?
A. Definitely it was challenging. First of all, gathering a team was itself a challenge. Moreover, managing a fund was a very big hurdle because the producers did not understand my pitch. My film is a kind of work which is not made regularly. Initially, the makers used to get flabbergasted by my film idea. With the realisation that I would have to be independent, I used my savings, sold my bike (motorbike) and worked on different jobs to arrange the fund. In addition, convincing actors and technicians for the film was a big task.
Q. The pre-production must have been equally challenging!
A. We used to go through the scripts together. I rehearsed first with my actors, then technicians, production team and assistants to ensure all were in sync. So it was quite a tedious job and close to impossible to pull off. I would give the whole credit to my team.
A sequence from 'Lomad'
Q. How difficult was it to manage the two roles- director and actor- simultaneously in such a film?
A. It was difficult to manage the two roles simultaneously because I was not able to see what was happening. So this is where the preparation came in handy. Even we rehearsed with the camera for quite a number of days. I used to take three takes everyday, analyse them and check if any rectification was needed. So it was a lot of rehearsals with the entire team.
Q. Apart from Ashutosh Gowariker, Hollywood actor Eric Roberts praised you for 'Lomad'. Would you spare some words?
A. I did an international series, titled 'Medinah', with Eric Roberts sir. I was with him in Qatar for six months. During the shooting, he wished me luck and offered all kinds of support to me. He was kind enough to send me a message during the campaign.
Q. Apart from the screenings in film festivals, what are your expectations from the cinema hall releases?
A. My expectation is that people watch this different kind of cinema and talk about it. I want youngsters to watch this film and get inspired to make these kinds of films in future with their own inputs and creativity.