Cinema Bandi’, an indie flick produced by Raj Nidimour and Krishna DK, is currently streaming on Netflix. Let’s find out what works and what doesn’t.
Set in Krishna district’s Gollopalli village, ‘Cinema Bandi’ tracks the story of Veerababu (Vikas Vasishta as an an auto-rikshaw driver), who resolves to make a small-budget film and solve the problems faced by his village after he accidentally finds an expensive high-quality camera. Ganapathy (Sandeep Varanasi), an amateur photographer, turns into a cinematographer. They make a ramshackle film with Maridesh Babu (Rag Mayur) and Manga (Uma Yaluvalli) as the lead pair.
But there is trouble lurking in the corner. What is it? Can they pull off the project and release it eventually?
Director Praveen Kandregula casts actors who have no set image going for them. They are malleable and don’t succumb to any preconceived notions about themselves. The actors deliver honest and hearfelt performances that go a long way in positioning the film as a tender, sincere one.
Satyavolu Sirish composes a set of gentle tunes. One is reminded of the touch left by Sweekar Agasthi in ‘Care Of Kancharapalem’ and ‘Middle Class Melodies’. The songs are not loud and they drive the narrative forward.
Apporva Shaligram and Sagar crank the camera with ease. Kakarla Dharmendra and Girijala Raviteja headline the editing department with conviction.
Like most of the indie films, ‘Cinema Bandi’ is a ‘bandi’ of simple moments. The emotional range of the film is minimal. The humour is situational and comes with no frills.
If you are someone who expects a film to be laidback but also possess a certain gravitas, ‘Cinema Bandi’ will find you tad disappointed. For there are no durable conflicts in the film. Not a single conflict is strong enough to change the course of the story even ephemerally.
Village-based films made by makers exposed to the urban life are said to suffer from the bane of urban gaze. This film avoids the pitfall for the most part. But there are traces of the gaze much as the director adroitly tries to make it as authentic as possible.
The love story in the film being made by Veerababu and Ganapathy is basic. And the emotional bonding between Veerababu and his wife smacks of familiarity. It makes the comedy feel elementary.
The film could have gone to the next level had the emotions been tight and the situations didn’t feel so hurried. The run time is less than 95 minutes, and there is no way some scenes could have made a long-lasting impact.
‘Cinema Bandi’ toys with themes like hope and redemption. While the premise is heart-warming, the treatment could have been way better. The climax is underwhelming. But if you are a fan of independent films, this one is for you.