Rocking Star of the Year: YASH

A self-made actor, he worked his way up through hard work, conviction and acting prowess. Naveen Kumar Gowda popularly known as YASH, carved his name in the South Indian film industry with his talent, grit and determination. Over a decade old in the industry, this Sandalwood’s highest paid actor has earned “yash” that many can only dream of. The Rocking Star who is raring to go and is touted to break box office records again in 2020 with K.G.F: Chapter 2, speaks to NAMITA GUPTA in an exclusive interview.

How has the journey been since you first entered the industry around 12 years back? How challenging was it initially? How did you overcome them?

I grew up wanting to be an actor. Didn’t know how but just knew that’s what was meant for me. Found myself in Bangalore soon enough looking out for opportunities. Something to get me into the door. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m not a person either who would crib about doing something. We all need to put in the hard work and do things whole-heartedly to succeed. We’ve all seen struggles and surely nothing comes easy. So was the case with me.

There have been times when I didn’t have a place to stay – I’ve spent it on the footpath in Majestic (in Bengaluru). Been days, where I didn’t get enough food. Days where I’ve been on set as an AD trying to learn whatever I could but also did put on multiple hats to serve tea/coffee & food. It was hard. I wasn’t away from my family for this. I had to do something and the craze I had to stick and prove to myself is what got me out there.

Being a part of the Rangabhoomi (theatre) initially taught me a lot – of course to hone my skills, but also showed us that we had to wear different hats to manage it all. You do every job on set being in theatre – that somewhere grounds you. Next came the breaks I got for serials – the multiple roles, the format itself was a lesson. I wouldn’t be wrong if I say somewhere that it became by research ground. Gave me perspective on what I knew and what I needed to learn.

Back in the days, it wasn’t easy moving from serials to movies. It was coincidentally meeting the right people that helped me progress. Chosen basis the talent as a fresher for a movie and that becoming a hit was a game changer. I still remember the day I went and sat in one of the theatres for the first show to gauge the audience’s reaction, I was pretty nervous, it was a make or break moment for me. And seeing how well the audience connected with it, I knew this was it. I was here to stay! There has been no looking back from that day. Its been filled with crazy challenges but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. All of the tiny moments/situations have got me to where I am now.

More often than not, I think for me it was being at the right place at the right time and with the right people. I am who I am today because of a lot of these gems that I met along the way.

What changes have you seen in the industry along the way?

The industry is growing and has tremendous potential. There is no dearth of talent around here. Everyone needs a slight nudge in the right direction. And somewhere today we are working together as one. Atleast for me now, it isn’t about how much my movie alone makes at the Box Office, it’s how well we as an industry perform together. It not ‘me’ anymore, its ‘us’. It’s time to put ourselves on the map today.

KGF was a roaring success and the Kannada movie was even dubbed in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. How would you describe some of the highpoints in your acting career so far?

Yes, it was. But what is important to acknowledge is that one movie alone didn’t change my life. It was a series of interactions and incidents over the last 12 years or so. Some of these turning points I’d say have been my days within theatre (Benaka), to the serial breaks I got with ‘Preethi Illadha Mele’ and of course ‘Moginna Manasu’ which opened up doors for me.

How is the shoot for KGF 2 going on?

It is going great. The response we’ve received for KGF – Chapter 1 has given us as a team a lot of confidence. We are extremely charged up and putting our best foot forward together. The visual quality is fantastic. Don’t want to really say much at the moment but I guarantee you that KGF – Chapter 2 is going to be bigger and better! Surely larger than life.

With a small child and the birth of another baby in the family, how do you take out quality time with your family? How do you prioritise between work and family time?

I’ll simply leave you with this – Busiest person is the one who has time for everything!

What are your other passions and hobbies?

It’s cinema! An eye for finer details, different perspectives, different forms of art! There is a lot to learn in this field. Reading is another aspect that adds to this craze of mine. And lot more grasping on my travel escapades, which I love doing.

What do you do to keep the romance alive with the love of your life, Radhika? How romantic a person are you in real life? What is the most romantic thing you have done for her so far?

To be honest, for me romance isn’t about grand gestures. It’s in the smaller things – mutual respect for one another, the love and care you show towards each other that makes this work. This to me is the purest form of love and I pretty much romance life!

How big a foodie are you? Which are some of your favourite cuisines and restaurants?

Not a foodie at all. I eat to live and not otherwise. Having said that, with Radhika (his wife) now, I’m being forced to be a Foodie. If you know what I mean!

What is your fitness regime like?

Ahh! This is pretty extreme, I feel. There are days and months when I’m totally at it. At my best, no requirements of a push to do anything, when I’m preparing for my roles. But when that is not happening, it’s a laid back period, I doubt you can get me to do anything.

What are your future plans?

While I do enjoy planning and have those roadmaps for myself, I’m a person who thrives living in the moment, in the present. All I can say is I’m excited seeing this graph of mine and I know the next couple of years are going to be crazy! Good mad crazy! No fun in giving those things out now, ya? Let them surprise you instead!