Cinema Bandi review: Praveen Kandaregula delivers a slice-of-life film with an underlying thought that everyone is a filmmaker at heart

Cinema to India is like vada pav to Mumbai — omnipresent, affordable and loved by all. Be it the urban class rich or the rural class not-so rich, everyone is massively influenced by cinema. So much so that every Indian must have at least once dreamt of being a part of this glamourous industry. With this basic premise, Praveen Kandaregula delivers a slice-of-life film ‘Cinema Bandi’ with an underlying thought that everyone is a filmmaker at heart.

This 98-minute long Indie film revolves around Veera, who makes ends meet by driving an autorickshaw. He is overly patriotic towards his village and is often found preaching his passengers about how their village is as important as any other city. One evening, after completing day’s work, he realises that somebody has left a bag in his rickshaw. And what he finds in the bag is a camera as big as his wife’s utensils. He shows the camera to his friend, Ganpathi, who is the only photographer in the village. Initially, they think about selling it at a good price, but later on Veera realises they can make more money by creating a film than by selling it off. What follows next is their struggles to find a cast, shoot the film and complete it against all odds.

The film captures an interesting aspect about ambition drenched in selfishness, while simultaneously being dried up by selflessness. This is with reference to Veera at one point passionately telling about his self-seeking dream of making a film, and at other time speaking about his plans of working for the village from the money that he will make. It also accurately and subtly highlights the significance of a woman in a household when Veera’s wife takes up the responsibility of earning the bread and butter for the family while Veera continues with his ambition. Indeed, a delightful depiction of companionship in a candid manner! The old writer of Veera’s film, although a dead asset, always being involved with them too pays attention to a crucial detail in the world of cinema that is often overlooked — the importance of a writer in the whole film making process. It felt good to watch such a fair treatment of writers in the industry.

Very gracefully draped in the ribbons of innocence, Cinema Bandi can be regarded as a good, heartfelt movie that makes you laugh, frown, reflect and smile at different instances. Be it Ganpathi considering the mic fixed to the camera to be a sweat band or Veera running after village girls to be his film’s heroine, the movie delivers a decent amount of humour, making it an entertaining watch. Though the plot is not fresh and takes you back to the 2008 award-winning documentary Malegaon ka Supermen (also called Supermen of Malegaon), it manages to keep you glued to the screen.

Moreover, the entire cast of Cinema Bandi being debutants stands out with heart-touching performances. The director deserves an applause for his efforts on this front. Another facet that calls for a special mention is the quirky background score of the film that engages you throughout.

Above all the movie celebrates the idea of film-making and the love for cinema in our country, and thus is worth a watch.

Title: Cinema Bandi (Telugu)

Cast: Vikas Vasistha, Sandeep Varanasi, Rag Mayur, Trishara

Director: Praveen Kandaregula

Platform: Netflix

Rating: 2.5 stars

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