Kannada actor Vikas Vasishta has been in the industry for almost a decade now. And despite acting in umpteen serials and films in Kannada and also sharing the screen with National-Award winning actors such as Sanchari Vijay (in 6ne Maili), his fame was limited. All that changed with the Telugu film, Cinema Bandi, where Vikas plays one of the leads, an auto driver.
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Produced by Family Man’s Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, Cinema Bandi marks Vikas’s foray into the Telugu film industry. “I met Praveen Kandregalu in 2017 when we were working on an ad in Tamil. A few months later, Praveen said he was looking for a Telugu-speaking actor in Karnataka. I told him I was fluent in the language. We met and had a quick discussion and narration. The film was pitched to the producers, who gave the nod and the shoot took off.” Vikas, says the film is special for him not only because it is marks his Telugu début but also because it is his friend, Praveen’s directorial début.
Vikas has had a great innings in Kannada serials with Pancharangi Pom Pom, Parineetha, Preethi Endarenu (directed by award-winning director KM Chaitanya) and movies such as Karaali and Randhawa.
Pancharangi Pom Pom gave him an opportunity to explore varied roles. “Every episode had a new story and new character and I was playing a character a day.” Currently, he is acting in the serial, Manasaare, which is being aired on Udaya TV.
The actor was pleasantly surprised with Cinema Bandi’s reception. “It was a small unit. We were 12 to 15 people including the cast and crew. The film was shot in 2018-19. We had originally planned for a theatrical release. The pandemic quashed that plan and we decided to release it on OTT as we did not want the story to get dated.”
Vikas says OTT platforms are a blessing for actors like him. “We struggle for recognition but thanks to the reach of streaming platforms, the game has radically changed. I am not sure if the film would have had this kind of a reach had it been a theatrical release.”
Vikas is fluent not just in Kannada and Telugu but Tamil as well. “I can manage a bit of Malayalam too,” he says with a laugh.
Cinema Bandi is presently streaming on Netflix