Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (ANK)

Mangaluru, Aug 13: Naveen D Padil, popularly known as 'Kusaldarase', has entertained Tulu fans all over the globe with his versatile acting skills in Tulu drama and films. Earlier confined to coastal Karnataka, Naveen's talent has burgeoned all over the state through his 'Gundu Mava' role in 'Maja Talkies', a much talked about show on a leading Kannada TV channel. He has also received the state award for best supporting actor in the Tulu movie 'Kudla Cafe'.

Naveen D Padil spoke in an exclusive interview to editor-in-chief Walter Nandalike on Daijiworld 24x7 channel's 'Public Face' programme.


Q: People love you in your dramas, movies and stage acts. The audience has watched you as a comedian and in serious roles. Who is your inspiration?

A: Credit goes to my mother for the way she brought me up. I am also grateful to the support I received from people, artists, directors and Ramesh Master. I am also thankful to Ivy and Rita teachers who supported me in classes 2 and 4.

Rama BC Road trained me in dramatics from class 5. We shared the stage in 'Chaparka' team.

Q: Tell us about your childhood and early days of life.

A: I hail from Padil. I attended Karmar school. My family lived in poverty and everyone knew about it. My teachers helped me a lot in my studies. With great difficulty, I completed my SSLC. My mother worked in other households and brought food for us. 

Q: How did you get into drama?

A: Ramesh Master encouraged me to act in dramas. During my school days, Mohiudin Abbas, a dramatist used to run a youth centre. I entered the centre as a child artiste. I never thought I would succeed. After my SSLC, I replaced one of the characters in a drama. I played the role of a driver which was well-appreciated.

At the age of 18, I was cast in a drama at Town Hall. It was G K Purushottam's 'Ardha Nidre'. I acted in 'Initha Avaste' directed by Vital Shetty Kanakapady followed by 'Onji Nimisha' written by Vijay Kumar Kodialbail, under Kishore D Shetty's Kala Sangama in which I played the role of driver Krishnappa.

The 'Chaparka' team was very famous those days. Their drama 'Bale Charparka' and 'Gantethana' were running houseful. A new team entered through 'Onji Nimisha' and driver Krishnappa's role was a massive hit.

I went on to do 'Oriyardori Asal' directed by Vasanth Amin and written by Vijay Kumar Kodialbail, where I played 'Bajane Basappa' character. The character was based on my father who used to get drunk and come home. That particular role is stuck deep in my heart. I play a similar role in 'Gundu Mava' in Maja Talkies TV show.

Q: We have seen you in dramas from the early days of your career. What work did you do other than acting in dramas?

A: After I finished my schooling, I worked as a mason and also as a supplier in hotel. Dedication and passion is very important. I have even removed muck from our well at home along with my friend Rashid.

I built my general knowledge by speaking to people around me. Even in education, Protestants and Catholics helped me as we were united and knew each other's importance. I have been inspired by people from my life. The love and affection I received from people around me is enormous.

I even ran an auto rickshaw during the night for one-and-half-years in my initial days and gained all types of experience.

Q: You have achieved name and fame through Tulu dramas and movies. Not many know that you had entered the film industry with a Malayalam film.

A: 'Vidheyan' was the Malayalam film through which I got my first break on the big screen, thanks to a lecturer from St Aloysius College. Award winning director Adoor Gopalakrishnan was shooting in Mangaluru and he was looking for a local artiste. He selected many artistes and finalised me as I was sporting a bald look those days. He called me to Thiruvananthapuram to dub the dialogues in my own voice. This shows his perfection.

Q: Are you fluent in Malayalam?

A: No, but I can understand the language. I understand Malayalam, Beary, English, Hindi, and Konkani, but find them difficult to speak. Education is important in life and I failed to complete it. If I was a bit more educated, I could have achieved greater heights.

Recently I visited Australia. People over there talked to me, but I failed to reply. If I was well educated, I would have conversed with people. The whole tour I did manage with only 'yes' and 'okay'.

Q: Many Tulu movies release nowadays. Do you think, acting in Tulu movies has changed your life?

A: I have not changed as a person, but the direction of my life has changed. I am here today, thanks to the support I have received from people.

We have to give good and quality films to our audience to watch and that will help Tulu movies survive. There was a time when people used to wait in long queues to get tickets to watch Tulu dramas. Now it's for the movies.

I have worked in three drama teams - Kala Sangama, Lakumi and Chaparka. Organizers used to pay for a three-hour show. The size of the audience never mattered for artistes. We used to perform 3-4 shows a day and be tired. But, we never gave a lacklustre performance.

I have spent 30 years in drama and I can say that Tulu films are a bonus for me. My hard work in my initial days has paid off and I am receiving the bonus now.

Q: Drama enthusiasts are missing Naveen D Padil in dramas. Now that you are busy due to a packed schedule in TV shows and films, do you feel like acting in a drama?

A: Yes, I am very much interested. Drama is my life. I am planning to build a team. But I do not want to do it for the sake of doing it. I want to entertain people as they pay us. Artistes need to sync well like we have Arvind Bolar, Bhojraj Vamanjoor and Devadas Kapikad. If we have artistes with the same capability, then we can have a good team.

Q: You have acted in many Tulu films. We have seen in many roles. In 'Arjun Weds Amrutha', you played a serious character. It was something different.

A: I used to perform such roles in dramas. When I was with Kapikad, I used to perform for two hours while Kapikad would share the stage for an hour. In the climax, I used to give a strong message which would make the audience emotional.

Dramas like 'Dever Dee Leka Apundu', 'Nikulu Matherla Ulleratha', and 'Yaan Ori Baroliya' had emotional scenes in the climax. There was pin drop silence in the audience for climax scene in 'Yaan Ori Baroliya'.

Q: After drama and films, we saw you in the TV show 'Maja Talkies' which is a huge success. How you got in 'Maja Talkies' for that role?

A: I was working with Srujan Lokesh on a film. Srujan wanted someone from the Coastalwood who could play the role of a drunkard. The role of 'Gundu Mava' was an instant hit. Srujan said that eben people from Mysuru like the character.

As a constant performer of such roles here, it was easy for me. But, it was new for them. It was a good platform for me through which I could display my talent to a large audience.

Q: You have performed dramas abroad. You visited Australia recently. You have also garnered a huge fan following through Youtube. Is there any special role that you would like to do for the international audience?

A: I need a good script and director which can make people react. I played a good role in 'Dabak Daba Aisa' and 'Yesa'. It was a different character in 'Chaali Polilu'. Audience in Coastalwood prefer comedy and filmmakers have to complete film in the set budget. People here love watching comedy. I was introduced to a local channel by Shivdas Shetty who was also an artiste. We made a silent comedy serial 'Jam and Jelly' which was risky concept as there were no dialogues. People did not accept the serial.

Q: Have you tried your hand at Yakshagana?

A: Yes. I have performed at 14 places with Mangladevi Mela in 'Sarapaadi Sarpa'. I have performed Tala-Maddale and even in 'Yaksha Dhruva' headed by Patla Sathish Shetty.

Q: We all know that Tulu film industry is growing. New actors and actress are being introduced. Some producers make films to launch their children. Do you think actors in Coastalwood should get trained?

A: Yes, of course. Artistes who come up due to hard work are of a different kind. We have come up in life due to our hard work. A good looking guy can be launched by his father, but he needs to be trained well enough. Otherwise, it is waste of money. Actresses due to shortage of money are forced to face difficult situation. Due to the presence of media, actresses are safe now. If an actress is good looking, she should not face any difficulties to enter the film industry. But yes, she should get trained well.

Q: After the success of Tulu movies, Konkani films are also catching up.

A: It is a good development. People should watch and bless Konkani films. Tulu, Konkani, and Beary are important languages here in the coastal part and doing a movie is good way to promote languages. In coming days, I will definitely do a Beary movie.

Q: You have done many roles in many dramas and succeeded in every role. Which role gave you the utmost satisfaction?

A: Roles like Krishnappa Bajane Basappa, Keppa Boobana, Bulla and many others gave me happiness. I have played various roles from a young man, to elderly. I have even played female characters. In dramas Kapikad used to create new characters and I was giving life to it.

Q: You have been in this field for three decades. Every artiste has ups and downs in their life. How did you handle depression or negative feedback?

A: I received the tile 'Kusaldarase' when I was in Chaparka team. People adorned me with that title. A programme was arranged at Town Hall to felicitate me with the title when I got admitted to hospital due to malaria. But I anyhow managed to attend the programme. The claps I received from the audience healed me. I faced a similar situation when I was performing in a drama in the Gulf, when my dad expired.

I grew up in poverty facing difficulties. I am never too happy or too sad. I face problems, but take them in a positive sense.

Q: Your future plans?

A: I want to direct a film with a good message. It does not matter if it becomes a hit or a flop. Directing a film is my future goal.

Q: Any message for the audience?

A: People here in Tulunadu are kind-hearted. They have supported me all my career. People here live in harmony, but due to politics and some differences, they are fighting against each other. These things disturb me.

As an artiste, I tell everyone that artistes do not follow any religion, but just want people to support them. The whole state knows that people from Dakshina Kananda are smart and educated. Punish people who are wrong instead of giving a communal angle to incidents and sending provocative message through social media. Let us all be united.


Watch Full Interview