The resounding success of Jathi Rathnalu has catapulted Naveen Polishetty into a league of his own. A rank outsider, Naveen says that the success of Jathi Ratnalu is validation that hard work and persistence always pay off.
The actor, who is currently enjoying a holiday in USA, shares that he had slept for hardly three hours a day in the last 45 days. “I have been extensively promoting the film. I’m exhausted, but also super happy for the blockbuster success,” he says..
“This success is so important in many ways. Firstly, it reinforces the fact that the middle class and outsiders can also dream big. Secondly, it gives filmmakers the confidence to cast newcomers,” he says. The outpouring of love he gets from the audience is a memory he will cherish forever, the actor says.
A hat-trick of hits
Naveen debuted as a lead actor with Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019), which went on to become a super hit. In the same year, he played a significant role in Chhichhore. And then came Jathi Ratnalu.
“It’s an incredible feeling; but I ascribe these successes to putting a lot of effort at the script level. Many asked me why I slowed down after Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya that’s because I take my own sweet time. I had to make sacrifices like letting go a few lucrative offers too,” he reveals.
Persistence and grit
These super successes didn’t come overnight for Naveen. In fact, every step of his long journey has been a challenge. Behind the successes, there lie years of hard work.As a young aspiring actor, Naveen went to Mumbai.
“Life in Mumbai was so difficult; I did all kinds of odd jobs to survive. There were times I gave 5-6 auditions on a single day. I have given more than 1,000 auditions and faced several rejections. There were days when I didn’t have money to pay rent, my bills or buy food,” recalls Naveen.
But his passion for acting was so strong that he continued to give audition after audition even while doing the jobs that came his way, to keep himself afloat.
“That’s’ why this success is so much sweeter — I have gone through a tedious journey. Competition is razor sharp In Mumbai,” he says, and adds on a lighter note, “Looking back, I feel my journey itself can be material for a film.”
In pursuit of a passion
Born and raised in Hyderabad, Naveen was very active in his school plays. He later pursued engineering at NIT Bhopal, and got a chance to showcase his talent at college fests. He subsequently worked for a Telecom major at London.
“But I returned to India because I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming an actor. I did four years of theatre and acted in several plays,” he says. “I did theatre because it teaches you a lot about acting. I am not an actor by accident, but by choice,” Naveen asserts.
National award for Chhichhore
It’s a big recognition that the first film I was part of went on to win a National Award. I always wanted to be part of a film where my character talks. I am glad that my role, Acid, was widely appreciated. In fact, recently, during our Jathi Ratnalu success tour, people in Guntur were screaming Acid, Acid...
Naveen would have loved to share the happiness with the late Sushant Singh Rajput, his co-star in Chhichhore. “I wish he was here to share the madness and euphoria and all the magical moments. It’s a hollow void that cannot be filled,” he says.