Cinema Bandi brims in naïve optimism, focusing on a rural community's simple, sweet characters using up all their enthusiasm and resources to make a local blockbuster, notes Sukanya Verma.
Hailed as a source of relief and escape, the magic of movies and the wide-eyed wonderment it inspires has laid the foundation for many a filmmaker’s dreams.
There's an air of invincibility in fantasy, which empowers its awestruck beholder to believe in the power of telling stories on the big screen.
Cinema's scale, reach and influence are undeniable, but when sought by those with little means, what comes forth is a disparity we rarely reflect upon.
In Cinema Bandi, it's not ambition but fortuitousness and necessity paving the way for a modest auto driver and his wedding photographer pal to explore their untapped film-maker and highlight this winsome indie's inherent belief -- everyone is a film-maker at heart.
As somebody whose artistic journey began on a similarly self-supporting note, it is only fitting that director duo Raj and DK should produce it.
Directed by Praveen Kandregula and written by Vasanth Maringati, the Telugu comedy brims in naïve optimism, focusing on a rural community's simple, sweet characters using up all their enthusiasm and resources to make a local blockbuster.
It all starts after Veera (Vikas Vasistha) discovers a high-end camera left behind in his auto: 'The kind they use to make hits with Mahesh Babu and Prabhas.'
Veera gets an elderly writer on board, someone just content to tag along, convinces a smarty-pants photographer (Sandeep Varanasi) to record the scenes and hires a chirpy barber (Rag Mayur) whose fanboy fervour is all the skill he needs to play hero.
Searching for the perfect leading lady (Uma YG) ensues in a series of hilarious episodes as does the struggle to stay on schedule.
This is the extent of conflict Cinema Bandi is willing to engage in. Even the appearance of the camera's original owner doesn't ruffle too many feathers.
Kandregula is keener on slice-of-life moments around his motley crew's exploits by way of droll improvisations and ingenious schemes.
Cinema Bandi's steady supply of innocence and good-naturedness steers clear of drama and darkness.
It's always sunny in this sleepy village of Andhra even if glaring inadequacies like power outage, meagre rainfall stares its inhabitants in the face.
Just like the movies, the heroics overshadow the hurt. And Cinema Bandi is nothing if not a fond tribute to that.
Finding a camera didn't make Veera a film-maker.
But finding everything that goes in making films -- location woes, continuity glitches, over budget issues, perfect shooting conditions, casting hurdles -- certainly did.
Cinema Bandi is streaming on Netflix.