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Cinema Bandi, On Netflix, Is A Small, Charming Film About Moviemaking
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Director: Praveen Kandregula

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

Cinema Bandi is a small, charming film. You have a village, Gollapalli, which has all the usual problems of an Indian village: no rains or irrigation for cultivation. On the other side, you have the fantasy world of cinema where rains are available for something as frivolous as a rain dance. You have pipes showering water on people who are dancing when there are villages going dry. What if these two worlds — a village with no rain and a fantasy world where everything is available — came together?

The plot kicks off when Veerababu (Vikas Vasistha), an auto driver, finds a fancy and expensive camera mistakenly left behind in his auto by someone. He looks at it and decides to make a film. A subtext of the film is introduced when an announcer on TV says that indie movies are making it big at the box office right now because of the changing tastes of the audience. Raj and DK are entering the indie space as producers with this film, too.

The idea of an indie film is that anyone can make one. Why not an auto driver named Veerababu? And we get into a comedy-drama along the lines of Harishchandrachi Factory which showed how Dadasaheb Phalke made India’s first feature-length film. Veerababu wants to make his village’s first full-length film. 

Veerababu needs to find a hero and heroine (whether they can act or not is not a question). He has to use an auto for tracking shots and a bullock cart for crane shots. In the midst of all this, there’s a tinge of pathos when two people who act in his film say that they’ll lose daily wages by doing that. This mix is handled very well. 

The only problem with Cinema Bandi is that it doesn’t have conflict. Everyone is too sweet, too nice, too pleasant. Even the original owner of the camera decides to help these people, even though she has saved up for five years to buy it. But the lack of conflict doesn’t mean that the film doesn’t have its other charms. This is a pleasant, little film about movie making and its low-key charm is its own reward.

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