Jagadeesh Prathap Bandari Interview
Jagadeesh Prathap Bandari Interview

Sukumar Sir’s Filmmaking Style Always Shocks Me: Jagadeesh Prathap Bandari

The actor, who recently appeared in the crime comedy Sathi Gani Rendu Ekaralu, opens up about his experience of jumping from the indie to mainstream space

Jagadeesh Prathap Bandari’s phenomenal leap from Avanti Cinema’s web series, Nirudyoga Natulu in 2018 to Pushpa: The Rise in 2021 is a dream for aspiring actors. He went from a indie series self-funded by a group friends to an expensive, star-led duology that boasts some of the biggest names in the industry. But at the core of it, when all the embellishments and glitter of the mainstream are brushed aside, acting remains the same. “In indie projects, when you are working with the people you know personally, it’s one kind of working experience. But when you go to the next step, where you have to work alongside names like Allu Arjun and Sukumar, it’s a different experience. What matters is how we are moulding the situation on set and how focused we are during that moment. But it doesn't mean that the mainstream doesn’t offer enough space. For instance, we shot Pushpa in sync sound; Sukumar sir gave us the freedom to perform as naturally as possible. Even in the roles that are coming my way after Pushpa, I have ample space to perform,” says Jagadeesh.

Jagadeesh with Allu Arjun in Pushpa: The Rise
Jagadeesh with Allu Arjun in Pushpa: The Rise

Before his big break came in the form of Pushpa, Jagadeesh was under the assumption that filmmakers, based on his appreance, would only offer him henchman roles. The actor observes that turning a lead for Sathi Gani Rendu Ekaralu, indicates a larger shift in Telugu cinema, more than a sense of personal achievement. “If you observe, many new artists are entering the field. Many fresh faces are making a mark with their performances. Back then, I used to feel that I might be restricted to minor roles because the opportunities to prove ourselves were very few. Now, there are so many. Be it Suhas anna or Raj Tirandasu, who worked with me in Pushpa and Sathi Gani... many new actors are emerging."

Jagadeesh in Sathi Gani Rendu Ekaralu
Jagadeesh in Sathi Gani Rendu Ekaralu

While the world came to know Jagadeesh as an actor, it’s the filmmaking bug that drove him on this path. He describes Sirasri’s book, ‘Vodka With Varma’, a collection of conversations with filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma as the major source of inspiration for pursuing this field. While the universe had different plans for him, Jagadeesh continues to learn about filmmaking and in fact, now has the privilege to earn while he learns, closely observing the filmmaking process. “My perspective towards filmmaking took shape from my first short film and then, of course, Nirudyoga Natulu (2018). While watching films, I would often wonder why the actors weren’t performing naturally. My first short film germinated from this thought. While basics like close, mid and wide might remain common, every filmmaker has their own unique style,” he says, adding that Pushpa took his film education to the next level. “After projects like Mallesham (2019), Pushpa and Gods of Dharmapuri (2019), when I came to Pushpa, it further changed. We might be familiar with Sukumar sir’s direction style as the audience, having seen it evolve over the years from Arya (2004) to Rangasthalam (2018). I had the opportunity to practically see it with my eyes for two years. While one might go to film school and then work on a film set to acquire knowledge and hands-on experience, I could learn it all by acting and observing. Sukumar sir’s direction style shocks me. Looking at his composition of frames makes me wonder at times. ‘Ikkada kooda frame pettocha’ ani (Can a frame be placed here too?). There’s no end to learning in filmmaking. And I’m learning a lot.”

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