EXCLUSIVE: Yash on his birthday plan, 15-year journey, KGF: ‘Was always chasing dream of being a superstar'
Yash is no longer an actor from the Kannada Film Industry, as KGF has put him on the national map welcoming him with open arms as Rocky Bhai. The Rocking Star, as labelled by his well-wishers all across, celebrates his 36th birthday on January 8, 2022. However, the COVID-19 scenario will result in quiet birthday celebrations. “Going by the situation, we can’t celebrate the birthday. I will be staying with my family,” says Yash when asked about his birthday plans in an exclusive chat with Pinkvilla.
Prod him on ideal celebrations in the pre-COVID world and he opens up, “Generally, my birthday is not for my family, but all about my extended family, which comprises fans. We all think of it as a day for the fans. Unfortunately, I am not able to meet them due to COVID over the last 2 years.” On January 8, 2021, Prashanth Neel and the team of KGF surprised the fans with a short teaser of KGF: Chapter 2. Can one expect another teaser as a return gift for fans? “We are releasing on April 14, so we want to come up with a trailer next and it’s too early to unveil that in January. We might release a poster, but nothing beyond that. We don’t want to release something just for the sake of doing it,” he answers.
While most of India are confined at their respective home due to COVID-19 infused restrictions, Yash insists that 2021 was a great year for him. “We all went through a lot of hardships, but I somehow had the privilege of spending quality time with my family, my kids. My daughter was one and a half years old during the first lockdown – that’s the age when they start jumping and expressing. So I got to witness that. During the second lockdown, my son was one and a half years old. To take it in a positive light, I had a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with my family,” he keeps it short.
But did Yash miss being on the sets? “Of course. I am not a person who can sit in one place. I am a workaholic and I prefer to do a lot of things. People get used to a certain lifestyle and then, all of a sudden, it’s all taken away. The whole equation changes and it’s difficult to cope up with that part. It’s a big problem to be clueless about what to do,” he sighs. Today, Yash is looked upon as a superstar, but very few are aware about his journey to scale this sort of stardom. Coming from a humble background, Yash ventured into theater followed by television and finally got the big break in 2007.
“I always wanted to be an actor. In-fact, to be precise, as a kid, I wanted to be a superstar. I used to participate in the dance and mono acting competitions, which made me addicted to all the attention. And I always wanted it. Every year, I look forward to the cultural festivals. I believed that I would be a star one day, though I was too young to understand the concept of stardom. So I was chasing this dream of being a superstar, and as I grew up, I believed in it,” Yash explains. He is quick to add that his parents were initially against his idea to step into acting front at an early age.
“They wanted me to complete my studies, but I wanted to get into an acting institution as soon as possible. While I completed my PUC, I thought I was ready to express myself. I went against my parents wish and came to Bangalore with Rs 300 in my pocket to be a superstar,” he recalls, adding further, “That’s when I realized, how difficult it is as there is a lot more than just saying those lines. I am very happy that I joined theater as that made me understand the nuances of acting. In theater, everybody is equal and that gave me an insight towards the profession. I didn’t want to do television thinking that I would be a hero directly. But life teaches you practical lessons every now and then.”
Before you wonder how, Yash continues to give an insight into his journey, “My family also shifted in Bangalore and I wanted to earn for them. I didn’t get enough money in theater, so I started earning through television. I used to give a little percentage of my earnings to my family and invested the rest of it in my clothing and presentation. I never made money, because my focus was on cinema. Because I focused on my presentation, I eventually got offers from cinema and that’s when the journey began.”
Yash made his debut as a parallel lead in Moggina Manasu, whereas Rocky was his first as a solo lead. Life came full circle when he decided to play Rocky again in KGF, a character that resonated with audiences all across the country. “If you think back, people used to associate my name with Rocky. They used to call me Yash Rocky and I never thought it would come back to me. Sometimes, life is unpredictable with pleasant surprises,” he admits. While Yash has been a part of the Kannada film industry for the last 15 years, KGF was his first attempt to go national. “It was not an experiment to test waters, we wanted to reach out to maximum people,” he sets the record straight.
Explaining the period of evolution of cinema, Yash says, “People are waiting for us to give them good content and there is no barrier in that. We wanted to have a holistic approach rather than positioning it as a South Indian film. It was a calculated move. I believe cinema today is not Pan Indian, it’s global. There is a platform and we need to explore that. This was the first step and people welcomed us with open arms.”
KGF 2 is expected to hit the big screen on April 14 with huge anticipation among the audiences all across. Any pressures? Yash signs off, “In cinema, pressure is always a pleasure. It’s good when people are expecting as that’s where the fun lies. When people expect you to do something, you take it as a challenge and match their expectations. It gives you happiness and it’s the victory in a game that you were playing.” Stay tuned to Pinkvilla for the second part of Yash’s interview soon.