Cinema Bandi, the upcoming Telugu film, was born out of an idea that debutant director Praveen Kandregula pitched to well-known director-producer duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK at the Film Bazaar event in Goa in 2018, the director told Silverscreen India.
Film Bazaar is the largest South Asian film market curated by the National Film Development Corporation. It provides a platform for creative and financial collaboration between the South Asian and International film communities.
“After we pitched the idea, Raj and DK asked us to make a short film. We made a 40-minute-long short film and showed it to them. They thoroughly enjoyed it and agreed to produce it as a feature film,” Praveen told Silverscreen India.
Cinema Bandi is an independent film produced by Raj and DK under the banner D2r Indie. The film will release on Netflix on May 14. Raj and DK are best known for creating and directing The Family Man, Stree, Go Goa Gone, Shor In The City and 99.
Please stay safe. Wear a mask. pic.twitter.com/ruIENjM9JE
— Raj & DK (@rajndk) April 30, 2021
According to Netflix, the film’s plot reads, “When a shared-auto driver finds an expensive camera in the back seat of his rickshaw, he comes up with a ridiculously ambitious plan to gather the village and make a film by themselves — a ticket to get their drought-hit village out of its dreary conditions. Of course, no one knows anything remotely about making a film. But they have vast experience in watching films, their wits, and various ways of jugaad. How hard can it be!? Thus begins a hilarious journey of highs and lows as they make their innocent, amateur film.”
Cinema Bandi is set in the backdrop of a small hamlet called Gollapalli in Mulbagal village bordering Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
“We shot this film in 30 days between May and June in 2019. The film has some theatre artists and some non actors who we picked up from the village after multiple auditions. We also conducted acting workshops for the artists ahead of shooting,” Praveen said.
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The director said that since the film revolves around a village and its people, the main aim was to retain the originality and capture their natural emotions.
“We chose to shoot this film in a minimalistic way without using drone, trolly, crane, track or any of the big equipment to make the actors comfortable on set. We had a small crew with 15-20 people and opted for sync sound for recording,” Praveen said, adding that the same artists who performed in the short film were part of the feature film.
Praveen said that the idea for the film was derived from his personal life.“When I was in class VII, my father gifted me a camera. Holding it for the first time incited curiosity in me and my love for filmmaking grew from there. As an amateur, I have shot many videos in my childhood and I have always wanted to create something with the camera. So this film has many such instances which are inspired from my life experiences and that’s why the tagline says ‘Everyone is a filmmaker at heart’,” he said.
Though the makers had planned a theatrical release for the film, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic compelled them to opt for a direct-to-OTT release.
Praveen said that Cinema Bandi would connect with the audience as cinema has been an influential part of everyone’s life and that most people would have wanted to make a film at some point in life.
“Though the film’s trailer is packed with humour we have also delved into other emotions and I believe the film releasing on OTT will have a wider reach,” Praveen said.
Praveen, who has worked on several short films and documentaries, has been working on multiple scripts during the lockdown with his co-writer Vasanth Maringanti who has written Cinema Bandi. Along with Praveen and Vasanth, Krishna Prathyusha has written the film’s screenplay. The film’s technical crew includes Apporva Shalgram and Sagar YVV as the cinematographers, Satyavolu Sirish as the music composer and Kakarla Dharmendra and Girijala Raviteja as the editors.