Exclusive: From poverty to popularity in Tulu industry - 'Kusaldarase' Naveen Padil recalls journey

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


Top Stories

Comment on this article

  • Anil Anand Kotian, Brampton

    Sun, May 17 2020

    If Tulu Moviedom has to survive then it cannot be churning out seemingly movies like Bollywood industry made in the 80s and 90s. Actors like Naveen padil and Volar are talented and need to perform roles other than typecast comedy roles. Also every other Tulu has the same actors ie Bolar, kapikad family Pvt Ltd., Bhojaraj Vamanjoor and Naveen padil. The industry need new faces and good script writers.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Marol, Udupi

    Mon, Aug 14 2017

    Even if I do not do any good, that does not matter. But I should never ever do any bad. Not doing any bad itself is a biggest good. What shall any one achieve by doing bad??? Thank you and God bless each and every one of us.

    DisAgree [2] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Lucy Rodrigues, Moodubelle/Andheri

    Mon, Aug 14 2017

    You are a great actor/comedian. I am enjoying your acting in Maja Talkies. You are the pride of Tulunadu. May God bless you abundantly. All the very best for your future. Thank you Daiji.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pooja, Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 14 2017

    Good message, all the best Naveen Padil, I am looking forward you to be as a director/ actor.
    Namma oorudu onji ranga mandira avoddu something like rangashankara in Bangalore. So that theatre performance in Mangalore should survive like an icon..

    Thank you Mr Padil for all your performances.. especially the bulla one.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ronald D, Udupi

    Mon, Aug 14 2017

    Great message from a wonderful human being! May God bless him all the time. Had we had few dozen people like Navin D Padil in every village and city of DK, our Tulunadu will gain lost glory within no time! People with career of Moral policing, religion based brain washers have pushed DK into dark age!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • cliffy, Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 14 2017

    Great actor. Down to earth attitude. Wish him good luck .

    DisAgree Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vishal, Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 14 2017

    Although Mr. Naveen Padil has gained popularity, he has not lost his humility. He has conveyed very nice and genuine thoughts. I wish him all success.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • M. DSouza, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    Naveen Padil, a great Human being. All young men/women should watch this. he is stressing so much on education. Let all youth concentrate on studies/education.

    Also he recollects his association with Catholics, Beary Community, Protestants. Our Tulunadu is a great place. Tulu is a beautiful unifying language. I remember growing up in Tulu speaking neighborhood. Attended kola, nema and bayalata. I have eaten Moode, Payasa and atida kasaya, ganji given by our hindu neighbors.

    One religion is Human religion.

    Whatever said. Mr Padil is a great Human being. May God bless him.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gerald O F Fernandes, Valencia, Mangalore/Ireland

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    Excellent interview with D.W. Director Mr Walter Nadalike! Naveen Padil is an hidden Gem in Tulu film industry. He will be an asset to any language films. Good luck and God bless in your future life journey!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • KT, mangalore

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    at least he acknowledged that he was poor, seen him since childhood

    DisAgree [3] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shalma Lobo, Bajpe / Sharjah

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    Wonderful Actor... Laughter Icon...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Chumma D, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    Eversince recent increase in Tulu movies, Drama lovers missing actors like Naveen D Padil, Bhojraj and Kapikad. The charm of Drama cannot be found in the films. I miss good Tulu Drama these days but somehow find happiness watching old Tulu dramas in Youtube.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse


    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    The upcoming Tulu speaking Communities will have no idea, how much this guy has made us laugh with his acting.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    Inspirational ...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • S. M. Nawaz Kukkikatte, Dubai

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    Excellent actor. Icon of tulu industries.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Francis Saldanha, Bahrain

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    'Kusalda Rase' Naveen Padil, my favourite Tulu Industry actor is refreshingly innovative and an all-around entertainer. All the very best for your future endeavours

    DisAgree [3] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Francis Lobo, mangalore

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    I have viewed the video of the programme .It shows the humbleness of the actor. But I liked parting words "People here live in harmony, but due to politics and some differences, they are fighting against each other. These things disturb me." .

    We have also been witness to the harmony which was prevalent in South Kanara .But today due to personal interest political or commercial we have lost the unity and our intelligence has only remained a rhetoric

    DisAgree [2] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shankar, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    Are you living in Mangalore?
    I just don't bother when people from outside say that Mangalore has become highly communal, people chop each other in the name of religion, hindus kill muslims on the streets and vice versa etc etc.. coz they don't live here. Being in Mangalore i feel it is still the same old Mangalore. Chef's and Kobes have made visits to Balli's podi shop less frequent. Spindrift, Coral, Village and Cardomom have taken a share of our visits to Mangala, dolphin and Tandoor.
    Friends circles include hindus Muslims and Christians even now. Please do not give a wrong picture of Mangalore

    DisAgree [10] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Paul, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    Yes i know Naveen Padil since long .He is really a hard worker ,Very Cool from before he is comedian his jokes is to entertain us. Very affectionate person, God bless you & give you more success.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alex Menezes, Karkala/Dubai

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    I am a very big fan of Navin D Padil and Devadas Kapikad. Their pair was hit among the Mangalorean drama enthusiasts. Indeed Navin Struggled a lot during his initial days, but I am happy that he earned the well deserved fame now. I still remember the drama Bale Cha Parka that was organized by us during my time in Karkala in 1989. Anand Bolar, Devadas Kapikad and Navin Padil were hit with so much of rib cracking jokes and created so much laughter in the Audiences.

    One of the highlight of his interview with Daijiworld, is his honesty. Even after acquiring so much of fame in movies and Dramas, he has not forgotten his initial days, struggle that he went through and he he still remains Humble. I wish you a very prosperous career in acting and pray that you may prosper in this field in the near future. God bless you.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ali, Kudla

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    May god bless him.he is real gem

    DisAgree [1] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • prem, moodbidri

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    "Yee lokada shristiye sama ijji" ... my favorite dialogue...

    Keep going Navin Padil anna, after day long stressful work... comedians like you bring smile on our face. May God bless you.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • KRPrabhu, Mangalore /Bangalore

    Sun, Aug 13 2017

    I regularly see the Maza Talkies TV show hosted by Sujan Lokesh because of Navin Padilla comedy acts in it.He is a great comedian and made Tuvuvas proud.Good wishes to Navin Padil for future glorious innings in Tulu comedy.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

Leave a Comment

Title: Exclusive: From poverty to popularity in Tulu industry - 'Kusaldarase' Naveen Padil recalls journey

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Daijiworld.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Daijiworld.com be held responsible.