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An eye on the lens: Nagesh Banell

Nagesh Banell is keen to work in multiple industries

Nagesh Banell is keen to work in multiple industries  

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‘Pelli Choopulu’ cinematographer Nagesh Banell’s focus has always been on grasping a filmmaker’s sensibilities

Cinematographer Nagesh Banell is focussed on coordinating pre-production works with veteran director Vamsy for his next project titled Fashion Designer, S/O Ladies Tailor, a sequel to his 1981-hit. While Nagesh continues to enjoy the success of his debut venture Pelli Choopulu, he now awaits the release of Srinivas Reddy-Poorna starrer Jayammu Nischayammu Raa later this month (it had commenced well before Pelli Choopulu).

Hailing from Konidela village in Kurnool, Nagesh always nursed a love for films; his heart was in the technical side of the craft. “Theory is certainly not cup of my tea,” he starts off. What inspired him to take up cinematography was the detailing behind Balu Mahendra and P C Sreeram’s frames and select shots from several other films, “The one that rings a bell now is Krishnavamsi’s Murari that had a sequence shot using an Akela crane. I was really fascinated by how these worked,” Nagesh says.

Being someone who always fiddled with radio and television sets in childhood, he decided that films would be his bread and butter after he graduated. From accompanying his relative to film sets to working with Ramanaidu Studios DI team recently; his journey in the film industry has been a roller coaster ride. “The work at Ramanaidu Studios was crucial to update me with technology trends, choosing the tone of my frames, the right choice of camera and many little aspects that complete the craft.” Nagesh credits this knowledge to giving a contemporary exterior to Pelli Choopulu.

Pelli Choopulu came to him after he’d worked with Tharun Bhasker for the short film Sainma; that’s when he gave up his ‘9 to 5’ jobs and went solo as a cinematographer. “Success or failure, what matters to me is the people I work with, irrespective of big or small. I accept an offer only if I like the story. I then work closely with the director, understand his sensibilities before bringing my vision into play. I like to see a film as a collective effort.” Pelli Choopulu and Jayammu Nischayammu Raa (directed by debutant Shivaraj Kanumuri) had him working with a relatively young team and now his happiness knows no bounds at collaborating with an experienced hand like Vamsy.

“I remember seeing a shot in Uyyala Jampala where in a love-proposal sequence, they create a girl ‘floating in mid-air’ moment by lifting her in a crane and bringing her down. While I really liked it, I was surprised to know that Vamsy garu had done this way back with Ladies Tailor. I was particular to pick this project over other options I had. Although it’s been only month and a half that I’ve known him, I’ve really enjoyed the process, his clarity with shots is impeccable,” he states. The fact that keeps him focused with his goals is strong family backing.

“Work becomes easier and clutter-free when things are sorted at home. It’s only because of them that most of my risky decisions have eventually paid off.”

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