Raj Nidimoru: “We Never Expected This Kind Of Response To Cinema Bandi”

Cinema Bandi, Raj-DK’s first foray into Telugu filmmaking, has turned out to be an experience way beyond anything they, or we, expected.

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Raj Nidimoru: “We Never Expected This Kind Of Response To Cinema Bandi”
Raj and DK have always been known for directing/producing   out-of-the-box films/series like  Go Goan Gone, Shor In The City, Stree and The Family Man. Cinema  Bandi, Raj-DK’s first foray into Telugu filmmaking,  has turned out to be an experience way beyond anything they, or we, expected.

Raj  sounds  understandably  happy  at  the turn of events. “Cinema  Bandi was an idea  that (director) Praveen  Kandregula and (writer) Vasanth Maringanti came to DK and  me with at the Cinema Bazaar. At that  point of time there was no script. But they had  prepared  a booklet  eith their concept.”

 Raj and  DK were impressed, both by the  concept and  its presentation.

Recalls Raj, “When we had  gone to our producers with the idea  of our first film 99 we had  made a comicbook of our concept. So  Praveen and Vasanth’s notebook made sense  to us. We liked their concept of  two villagers  finding a sophisticated  film camera  and  deciding on making  a film themselves. We  told  Praveen and Vansanth to work on  the full script, keeping in mind that we wanted  the  end-product to be raw real and  innocent.”

 The first draft  of the script needed work.

Says Raj, “We  took Praveen and Vasanth   through script workshops. Made sure that  the  writing was  absolutely  topnotch.We then got them  a really sophisticated camera—far more sophisticated than  the camera that    the two  protagonists  in Cinema Bandi find, ha ha—accompanied  them  to the village  where the  film was shot ,  settled them in  and  then left them to make  the  film that they wanted.”

The local villagers were  co-operation personified. “They not  only  made our cast and crew feel welcome,  but many of them played roles in  the  film,” smiles  Raj.

The  first cut of Cinema  Bandi  which came to  Raj and DK was  way too long.

“It was  almost four hours of footage.We had to shorten  it  , edit it down to  about 90 minutes of final playing-time and then  gave it to  Netflix. The response has been  far beyond anything we  expected. We’re sure  that if released in theatres Cinema Bandi would have been a boxoffice success. Telugu audiences like seeing an out-of-box films with talented  youngsters  at the helm, once in a  while.”

Raj says a Telugu film had been on the anvil for Raj and DK for sometime. “We wanted   to do something in Telugu. We thought  of  doing a film with the established young brigade. But then we  decided on  this .And we are glad.”

And now Praveen  Kandregula and  Vasanth Maringanti are making another film for Raj and DK who are  known to  nurture  new talent like  Amar Kaushik who directed the superhit Stree for producers Raj and DK.

Says Raj, “Please  understand we are  not a film studio. We  don’t produce  films as a lucrative  stand-alone business. The  idea it to produce  interesting innovative films side by side with the films we direct, a  sort of extension of what we direct ourselves. In that endeavour Cinema  Bandi  has worked out swimmingly  for us.”

Image source: Instagram/raj.nidimoru