Cricketer turned lead actor: Yash Puri

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sashidhar Adivi

Entertainment, Tollywood

Yash Puri shares his eventful journey from cricket to acting

Yash Puri. (Photo By Arrangement)

Yash Puri was once a regular at cricket league matches, net practice sessions and stadiums. Having represented Hyderabad at various professional levels including U-19, U-23 and U-25, he was one of the Ranji Trophy ‘probables’ in 2016. But a couple of episodes of the Master Class series were enough to make him change focus from cricket to acting. “I have been a film buff since childhood, and that interest channelled into an acting career with the Master Class series” says Yash.

In 2018, he enrolled in the Anupam Kher School of acting in Mumbai, and simultaneously auditioned for films. “I was also doing ad commercials for corporates and was part of a Hindi web series,” he recalls. Giving up a cosy life in Hyderabad,  sharing a room with seven other aspiring actors in Mumbai and giving many auditions on a daily basis only to face rejections was mentally draining mentally, he says, adding that initially he did not understand how to go about things and make the right choices and pitches. He gave close to 2000 auditions over two years. But Yash’s sportsman’s spirit and attitude helped him take rejections in his stride. He became “process-oriented and not result-oriented.”

After coming back to Hyderabad, Yash enrolled in the Sutradhar Theatre Group and fine-tuned his acting skills. “While I was part of several plays, I was auditioning for films too. I bagged Alanati Sitralu for an OTT platform. One day, I came across an open casting call and was eventually on boarded. That was my debut film, Cheppalani Undi,” he says. “I am blessed that producer RB Choudhary, who has made films with legendary actors, is launching me,”  the youngster asserts.  

But with no filmy background, how did he think he could make the cut, we ask. “If you believe in yourself and work hard, you can make it,” he replies, describing himself as a classic example.

In Cheppalani Vundi, directed by Arun Barathi, Yash plays a journalist. The film, which also stars Stefy Patel, is about how a small incident before an important interview changes things forever. “I suddenly stop speaking Telugu; instead I communicate in a foreign language. So no one understands what I am trying to say and in the process I lose all my loved ones,” he shares. The film grippingly narrates what happens after that. Yash attended extensive workshops as part of his preparation for the film. He rehearsed for his scenes and dialogues and even transformed physically.

One of the schedules of the film was shot in Sonmarg in Kashmir early in January. Yash says shooting in extreme temperatures, high altitudes and heavy snowfall was very taxing. “I have been a sportsman from the age of 6, so sports inculcated discipline and a passion to follow my pursuits relentlessly. I think that endurance aspect came in very handy for me in films,” he shares, while acknowledging his parents' support in his endeavours.

“Like cricket, filmmaking is also a team sport, so I never felt like a newcomer on the sets. It is a collaborative effort. I felt so proud seeing myself on the poster. I feel all the hardships I have gone through over the years are worth the wait. I am proud of my journey,” he concludes.