Rocky bhai is back: Yash, sandalwood take big leap

The latest sensation of Indian cinema is just 20 films old and comes from Namma Karunadu. Unlike many star heroes, who had to shift base  to Bollywood for a pan -India success, this special star from Kannada has done it with ease as the audiences are already waiting for the second chapter of KGF to see Rocky Bhai back in action.

Naveen Kumar Gowda or Yash as he is popularly called, has struck gold with the success of his sensational KGF, which has been dubbed and released in all south Indian languages besides Hindi. Despite mixed reviews, the film starring the  'Rocking Star' of Sandalwood and directed by Prashanth Neel, left Bollywood superstar, Shah Rukh Khan's 'Zero' trailing at the box office..

Even as a child,  Yash  remembers being passionate about the world of art, taking part in cultural activities and winning prizes galore. "I still remember doing a lot of mono-acting dressed up like  heroes such as Ambareesh sir and  other top actors in my school competitions and winnning awards," he says.

The son of a driver with the state run public transport corporation,  KSRTC, his rise  to stardom has been fired by the same passion that drove him in his teens. Arriving in Bengaluru,  he joined the film industry as an assistant director,  but when the film he was working on, ended abruptly, he was left with the choice of either returning to Mysuru or  staying on and pursuing his dream in the city.

This is when he stayed up an entire night wandering around the KSRTC bus stand in the Majestic area. His next stop was the Benaka theatre group where he excelled as an actor and eventually found his way to his first ever big break in the movies,  Moggina Manasu.

Prior to this, Yash  acted in a couple of popular Kannada teleserials like 'Preeti Illada Mele.' It was while working on the Kannada serial, Nandagokula, that he  met his future wife, Radhika Pandit , with whom he now has a month old daughter. They both coincidentally made their debut in Moggina Manasu  directed by Shashank and produced by E Krishnappa,  who gave the all- time hit  'Mungaru Male.'

Post his debut movie, which revolved around two female protagonists, Yash managed to make a mark with an award for the best supporting actor. Later, his movie 'Kirataka' helped him make space for himself in the industry. Eventually, his choice of films and  interest in developing a unique screen character gave him multiple successes at the box office.  What makes him the true rocking star, however, is his perseverance, dedication and most of all, his relentless hard work. Speaking of his college days in Mysuru, Yash says Paduvarahalli, where he grew up, had a great influence on him as it was the perfect mix of urban and rural and located  in the centre of Mysuru.

"My parents gave us all the comforts, and I never realised that I was the son of a KSRTC driver. My father worked day in and day out, and he still does it even today, which makes me so proud to be his son. I studied in the SBRR Mahajana Educational Institute, where children from all strata of society would pursue their education. But I always wondered  why I should study when my aim was something else," he recalls. With dreams in his eyes and nothing but a will to succeed , he did leave and the rest, as they say, is history.

THE LAKE MAN

Lakes have always been a matter of concern in the city, but 2018 saw the Federation Of Bengaluru Lakes (FBL) come into being on May 1 to take the fight to preserve them to greater heights. The trigger was the passing of an amendment to the existing law to allow construction of roads, bridges, and so on within lakes and the repeal of the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) Act, which was urban specific, by the last Congress government in March. "The federation has since been preparing to challenge the amendment in court if it is enforced. It has also continued to help with drawing up the framework for the new Karnataka Tank Development and Conservation uthority(KTCDA)," says Mr Ram Prasad, who was instrumental in bringing together different lake groups to form the federation.

The FBL,which has been trying to impress citizen lake groups to see the series of lakes as a whole rather than as individual water bodies, now has 93 lake groups as members. Ask him about his expectations for 2019, and Mr Prasad says the maintenance of lakes,  the involvement of citizen lake groups in lake rejuvenation and the recognition of lakes as a series of linked water bodies, is a must in the coming year. "The solution of Million Recharge wells for  groundwater recharge should also be given importance. Lakes and recharge wells should be the solutions for the city's water security and sustainability problems," he emphasises.

—  Aksheev Thakur

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