Rise of the Rocking star Yash.
Yash is one of the very few actors to have made a successful journey from the small screen to the big one.
He With no godfathers, no film connections, and coming from a humble background, his rise to the top of the Kannada film world is remarkable, and reads like a film script.
Although he is said to be commanding an enormous price tag per film, Yash appears to be firmly rooted to the ground, and seems unfazed by his success. But his steely determination to break into a quirky field that does not always recognise talent, shines through when he says, “It all depends on how badly you want something, and I worked really hard. If you wish for something with all your heart, they say that the entire universe conspires with you to make it happen. I think it is true.”
Upbringing from Humble Beginnings
He attributes his positive attitude to the way his parents raised him. “Although we are from a very humble background, my parents never made me or my younger sister feel that we lacked anything. My classmates in school and college were from various backgrounds, but it was instilled in me that I was not inferior to them in any respect. This helped me feel that I could go after anything I dreamt of. The credit should go to my parents.”
His father, Arun Kumar Gowda, works with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, and his mother, Pushpa, manages their home. Younger sister Nandini, a great source of support, now lives in Hyderabad, married to Rahul, a software engineer who also runs a group of educational institutions. The success of their son has not changed them in any way, says Yash. “They don’t consider me as a star, that’s the best part of our family. My mother still travels by auto rickshaw, and if she has time, she is also the type who will travel by bus. At some places, she never reveals that I am her son, since that would attract what she calls ‘fake respect’. Of course, she is proud of who I am, but she keeps it private. She does not appear in TV interviews or anything like that.
My dad is still working with the BMTC, although I tried to force him to quit and relax. He told me that I should do my job and that he would do his — he didn’t want to be ‘jobless’. I think that is fantastic. Maybe he is still working because he wants his son to consolidate his position. But there is no change in his approach. Even to this day, he scolds me for not folding my bed sheet properly, and questions me when I reach home late. They just treat me as a son. They believe in me. Changes in the world outside have not resulted in changes in our smalll world. They are just the same, our world is just the same.”
Acting debut with a Kannada TV Serial
Yash took part in school day functions and began acting in plays while still at college in Mysore and Bangalore. In Bangalore, he worked with the Benaka theatre group, and it was after one of these plays that he got his first break in the Kannada TV serial Uttarayana. But it was Ashok Kashyap’s Nanda Gokula and T N Seetharam’s Male Billu that propelled him into the limelight, and he began getting offers from film directors. He debuted with the film Jambada Hudugi. His second film, director Shashank’s Moggina Manasu, was the breakthrough project that earned him his first Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. Interestingly, his co-star in Moggina Manasu, Radhika Pandit, had also worked with him in Nanda Gokula.
Road To Success
While the success of Yash’s films has also meant a transformation in the fortunes of his family, the passionate young actor makes an interesting point about how he is handling all this. “I think if you get anything in life too easily, it can turn your head. It’s like getting a bike in college — you feel everybody is watching you, you want to perform ‘wheelies’ on your machine — but if you get a bike when you get a job — then it’s just a mode of transportation. You simply park your bike and go inside your office. That is success for me — it’s just a mode of transportation.”
Does he wake up and wonder at the changes in his life? “I know what you’re asking. But when I wake up, I keep asking myself, ‘what’s next?’ You can call me over-ambitious, but it is not about earning more. I am always behind something. I want to do so many things. I like being busy. I keep doing something or the other. And over a period of time, this will fetch you some results. It’s always like that. So, stop thinking, just keep working — that’s what I try to do.”
While his parents continue leading a ‘normal life’, Yash cannot. Stepping out onto the streets would mean getting mobbed. Does he miss normal life? He answers before the question is delivered. “I don’t miss that, because I have worked hard to get here. See, a human respecting another human, admiring him to that extent — isn’t that an amazing thing? In the wild, a lion is a lion, and a deer is a deer, but to give just one individual special importance is amazing. Having said that, if I want to go out and eat paani poori, I will go and have it. All I have to do is to pose for a few pictures, sign a few autographs, chat a little.”
Did he have any ‘back-up plan’ for an alternative profession in case acting didn’t work? The swift reply speaks of the self-belief of the young actor. “You won’t believe it, but I never had any back-up plan, because it never occurred to me that it was not possible,” he says with a laugh. “This may sound foolish 10 years from now, but I want to believe that I can achieve anything.”
Controversies have followed Yash. Especially from Kannada TV channels, which have highlighted all kinds of rumours. “Now I understand that’s how the media works. To get bothered is a waste of time. It is like a shadow that inhibits your pace of growth. I believe in long-term relationships, long-term goals. If I am wrong, I am prepared to kneel and ask for forgiveness. If I am not, my films will do the talking.”
This young actor, still seemingly unfazed by all his success, is all set to extend his frontiers. He clearly enjoys challenges. Should a set of directors rise to the challenge, films in Karnataka will be in for some very interesting times.