The Karnataka connect in Cinema Bandi
Praveen Kandregula’s directorial debut, which is a top-watched title on Netflix, alsostars Kannada actors Vikas Vasishta and Uma YG
Cinema Bandi, the latest Telugu release on Netflix, has received critical acclaim ever since its release on May 14. This is Praveen Kandregula’s directorial debut and interestingly, it has a Karnataka flavour with a handful of Kannada actors, including the leads, part of the cast.
The film’s story explores the life of an autorickshaw driver, who gets hold of a high-end camera and desires to make a film in his village. The film is set in the interiors of Kolar, and the language is a mix of Kannada and Telugu.
“I used to stay in Bengaluru for 3 years, and I would find Telugu shopkeepers had a different way of speaking the language — the accent was quite cute. It is slang that has never been used in Telugu films. Since I was also looking for freshness in the film, location and language, I thought this was the perfect bet.
Secondly, Vikas Vasishta, who plays the main lead role as Veerababu is a familiar face in Kannada, who has worked in serials. Manga, the vegetable seller, is played by Uma YG, who comes from a theatre background,” says Praveen, adding, “A few actors who are from Karnataka were chosen because they were thorough with the slang, which was a basic necessity in our film.”
About the setting of the film in Kolar, Praveen explains that he was searching for a proper village that would suit the story. They then finalised on a place in Mulbagal. “Gollapalli was a very small village with just 20 houses and was a convenient place for shooting. We were also able to use sync sound. The entire village supported us a lot,” he adds.
Praveen says that the Kannada film Thithi was one of his inspirations. The other two were Harishchandrachi Factory and Supermen of Malegaon. He shares that the positive response, especially during these times, is overwhelming. “Content is king, and Cinema Bandi is proof. A good film will always get noticed,” says the director, who also gives credit to the producers Raj and DK, and the streaming platform. “The OTT has been a good platform to showcase our product. Having said that, like every filmmaker, we also wanted a theatre release. However, with new faces it is difficult to attract an audience, and that will take time,” he adds.