Exclusive : Jagadeesh Prathap Bandari Interview

He is a bundle of talent and everyone who saw Pushpa will agree that the man who played Allu Arjun’s sidekick got a big round of applause for his dialogues, dialect and performance. It is sad that the audiences didn’t notice this talent in his previous movies. Pushpa isn’t Jagadeesh’s debut, he had done quite a few movies and all of them were spectacular stories, Pushpa being the fifth. In a chat with Y.Sunita Chowdhary of Klapboardpost.com, Jagadeesh says recognition comes with the success at the box office and it is not fair to blame audiences. “I have been here for four years. Even though the films released I didn’t get proper recognition. In 2019 the web series Gods of Dharampuri fetched me some attention from the people and that’s how too, sukumar noticed and called me. He had seen my work in Palasa, Mallesam, George Reddy and auditioned me and only then finalized me for the role. I did Ooriki Utharana and in that too I played a friend to the hero. In Mallesham too I was a friend. In Palasa, he was the heroine’s brother and in George Reddy, he played an article writer. I did it before Pushpa. Pushpa began in 2019 December and at that time Mallesam and GODS were on. Sukumar wanted to go with a new person but when he saw my work, he got the confidence that I could pull it off.”

The actor hails from Warangal and recalls his childhood days, “I am from China Kodepaka from Jaishankar Bhupal district (the new name for Warangal). I have been fascinated with films since childhood and my father was doing stage shows, singing and reciting poetry and all this he did before he got married. He stopped pursuing art but once in a while I heard him sing. I am a graduate and I was a brilliant student and I was an athlete as well and a shuttle player too. I met with an accident and my father thought I should focus on academics. During 2010, it was difficult for newcomers to get a break. Now we have social media and entry and recognition in the film field has become easy. I was serious about filmmaking and shot a short film and I teamed up with a group for a web series Nirudyoga Natulu. It is about what actors face in Krishna Nagar. The industry people saw this and I began getting offers. I got many and as we say work gets us more work, Pushpa followed. In 2018 and 2019, people watched very little web series but during the pandemic, the OTT platforms became the only alternative. It helped all those who were in such an opportunity and I was one amongst them.”

Keshave, the character he played, wasn’t just a sidekick. The man had a dignified, humorous side to him, he is loyal and was on the same page as the hero and the role runs throughout the film. Sukumar wanted a newcomer because he felt that such a person would get a big break. Jagadish adds, “He must have had a lot of questions in mind, about me being a relative newcomer and having to work with Allu Arjun and being executed by such a huge production house is not an easy thing to register. The director gave me a brief and said the film would start with my voice over and I would narrate the story. I was selected in 2019 and after that I stopped accepting offers. The people around me who were working on the film said it was evolving very well. They all encouraged me and told me not to get anxious which is why I could do well.” Jagadish left at least 15 projects inclusive of web series because he had the confidence that Puhpa will work big time and he might get good offers post release. Also working simultaneously on other projects would bring dates issues. When Sukumar was giving Jagadeesh a full length role, he thought he should focus on just this.

The shoot was not entirely in Maredumilli, it was shot in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Vikarabad and Hyderabad. There were no signals in Maredumilli and the actor says they had to wWe wake up at 3 am and reach the forest by 6 am. The crew was 300 in number and Mythri Movies took a huge risk by embarking on this project and made all feel comfortable. “Yes, I saw snakes too. I am a farmer, I would see them regularly in fields but these snakes were different. Cherry, the executive producer, did a great job by ensuring there was no trouble. The forest is so beautiful, the bike shots were in Kerala and the reservoir in Munnar. The most memorable moment I can’t pinpoint is that every day I was on a high working with Allu Arjun and Sukumar and I am a fan of the former. I began loving him and his films after Desamuduru. I watch all films and heroes but I have a soft corner for him. I think I am too lucky to get a chance to work with a person I idolize. I worked for 160 plus days. GODS had Rayalaseema slang and Pushpa required a Chittor slang. Three to four days were spent on doing some research. About 20 to 30 kilometers in the interiors of Chittor, I could find people conversing in authentic slang of the region. Some people who were working in Pushpa were from Chittoor,” he shares.

He adds, “Sukumar, to make it easy to understand, toned down the slang. He would sing, dance and maintain a high level of energy throughout the day. I would observe him a lot. My favorite scene is the first one, where I tell a person there that I would change my employer. I am in total awe of that character, – his fearlessness, attitude all makes him love the main character. I have been getting at least a thousand calls and more. I am enjoying the posts on social media and am yet to open my twitter and insta. Parents never liked me going to the cinema when I was young. I had just finished graduation and my father’s friend’s son was abroad and working and I wasn’t doing anything or contributing to the running of the family. It has been ages since I took up a job and after a long time I sent some money home. I asked my father if he saw the film, but you know our fathers..they are reticent like Prakash Raj in Bommarillu. People in the village are showing my pictures to my parents and they are feeling proud of me. Recently, I saw a film with my family. I saw Adavi Ramudu in Jaya Deluxe and now I will be watching my film there in the same hall. It feels so good.”

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