Naveen Kumar Gowda is an Indian actor who predominantly appears in Kannada films and is better known by his stage name Yash. He has received three South Filmfare Awards.
In the 2000s, Yash made cameos in a number of television shows to launch his career. He made his film debut in "Jambada Hudugi" in 2007. With the 2008's romantic drama "Moggina Manasu", for which he received the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor, Yash made a breakthrough. Rocky (2008), his debut movie in a major role, garnered negative reviews from critics and performed poorly at the box office. He then went on to star in a string of financially successful romance movies, and in 2012, he was nominated for his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor in a Drama.
With the movies like Romantic Comedy Googly (2013), Comedy-Drama Raja Huli (2013), Fantasy Action Gajakesari (2014), College Romance Googly (2013), Mr and Mrs Ramachari (2014), Action Film Masterpiece (2015), and Action Romance Santhu Straight Forward (2016), Yash went on to establish himself as a significant actor in Kannada cinema. Mr and Mrs Ramachari, one of the highest-grossing Kannada movies ever, brought Yash his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor. In 2018, due to Prashanth Neel's period action thriller titled K.G.F: Chapter 1, which broke the record for the highest-grossing Kannada film, Yash was able to get significant exposure in India. He also won his second Filmfare award for Best Actor.
Boovanahalli, a village in Hassan, Karnataka, is where Yash was born on January 8, 1986. He was given the legal name of Naveen and the family name Yashwanth by his mother's side of the family. They chose Yashwanth because, according to astrology, it would be best to name him with a word starting with the letter Y (ya). Yash was also referred to as Nanjundeshwara according to the Hindu custom of naming a child after a deity ("poison-drinking god", referring to Shiva). Others in the business advised him to select a stage name before starting his acting career. He abbreviated the name Yashwanth to Yash in an effort to stand out as a distinctive actor in Karnataka.
Arun Kumar Gowda, Yash's father, was a driver for the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and later the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, while his mother Pushpa worked as a homemaker. According to some sources, his father is still driving the bus as he is much grounded (down-to-earth) and is not ashamed of his work even though his son is an actor. Yash's younger sister, Nandini, is married to a computer engineer. Initially, Yash took part in theatre and dance events at his Mysore school because he always wanted to be an actor. When he was young, he frequently volunteered at the family's supply store.
Wife & Children of Yash
Radhika Pandit, the actress of Kannada Films, is the name of Yash's wife. She has established a reputation for being a leading lady in Kannada films. The name of Radhika's mother is Mangla Pandit. Her father is Krishna Prasad Pandit, who previously worked for an insurance company. Additionally, she has a brother by the name of Gaurav Pandit.
Radhika Pandit attended Bangalore's Clooney Convent School throughout her education. After that, she attended Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, where she completed the Master of Business Administration programme. Radhika aspired to become a teacher after graduating.
Yash and his wife Radhika Pandit have a son and a daughter. In a separate Instagram post, Yash and his wife Radhika Pandit released a video from their son's naming ceremony in which they revealed their son's name is Yatrava. The girl's name is Arya, born in 2018, while Yatrava was born in 2019.
Yash wanted to quit school after grade 10 and concentrate only on performing, but his parents urged him to finish high school. He attended classes at the Mahajana Education Society for the duration of his whole academic career. His father wanted him to become a government official, and his parents initially disapproved of his desire to pursue acting.
At the age of 16, his parents permitted him to relocate to Bangalore to work on a movie as an assistant director in 2003. They also included a condition that he would not be allowed to return if he went there. After barely two days of filming, the project was shelved, but Yash chose to remain in Bangalore. He claimed to have around Rs. 300 with him at the time, which is equal to around $4 as of 2022. He joined the Benaka theatrical ensemble, a theatre company founded by playwright B. V. Karanth. He was employed as a backstage assistant and received daily pay of around $50.
Later in 2004, Yash took on the role of Balarama for a play. He finished his Bachelor of Arts at Bangalore's K.L.E. College while continuing to work in theatre, choosing journalism and psychology as optional courses. He made his television debut the same year with the teleserial Uttarayana. He was given a chance to work with Radhika Pandit in 2005's television series Nanda Gokula. After then, he made more appearances in a variety of teleserials, including Preeti Illada Mele and Male Billu by T. N. Seetharam. Once Yash had a reliable source of income, his parents relocated to Bangalore to live with him.
Debut and Ground-Breaking Films (2008-2012)
In Priya Hassan's film "Jambada Hudugi", where he played a guy whose infertile wife sought uterine transplantation, Yash made his acting debut in 2007. Then, in the Shashank-directed teen drama "Moggina Manasu" (2008), which follows the love lives of four women who become friends in college, he played the love interest of Radhika Pandit's character. His performance earned him the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor in Kannada at the 56th Filmfare Awards South for the film Moggina Manasu. The movie is regarded as Yash's breakout effort. He was previously cast as Nanda Gokula's co-star in the film. After Shashank's first option for the part shattered their leg and needed six months of rest, he was cast in a last-minute decision. Then, by coincidence, Shashank witnessed Yash perform on a "Preeti Illada Mele" episode and was moved by his performance. For Preeti Illada Mele, Yash was sporting a beard, but Shashank got in touch with him and persuaded him to go clean-shaven for the part. Despite its writing, R.G. Vijayasarathy of Rediff.com thought the movie worked and praised Yash's performance among the male cast as being particularly strong.
Later, in the love story Rocky (2008), Yash co-starred with Bianca Desai in the lead role as a college student having a strained connection with his parents. Vijayasarathy, who thought he was promising in Jambada Hudugi and Moggina Manasu, stated that Rocky turned out to be a critical and financial flop and that "he (Yash) looks uncomfortable here, as the role lacks coherence."
Yash later played Somu, an auto-rickshaw driver who is subsequently a post-graduate student, in the action drama Kallara Santhe, the first of his two films to be released in 2009, which was directed by Sumana Kittur. Events in Somu's life have caused him to consider killing himself. He used or rode an auto-rickshaw around Bangalore to promote the film, which also attracted media attention. The director has not been successful in showing contemporary concerns (such as extramarital affairs, corruption, and nepotism among politicians) well in this film, according to a critic who wrote for The New Indian Express.
Yash and a cast that included Vijay Raghavendra and Pooja Gandhi were later featured in Prakash's family drama Gokula, which was released as the second film that year. A reviewer for The Times of India felt that the movie was only for "those who love emotional dramas honouring the link between mothers and sons". Gokula and Kallara Santhe both experienced commercial failure.
Success and Fame at a Higher Level (2013-2017)
In 2013's Kannada-Tamil bilingual film Chandra, Yash made his on-screen debut in a cameo role in the song "Tasse Otthu" (Kannada)/"Raaja Raajan" (Tamil). Then he played Sharath, a sexist college student who dates Swathi (Kriti Kharbanda) but breaks up with her because he suspects she is having an extramarital affair, in Pavan Wadeyar's college romance movie Googly. Years later, he meets her after becoming a prosperous businessman.
In an effort to reinvent himself and break off from the village-centric roles, Yash had played in Kirataka and Drama. He changed his hairdo to give himself a "young and pleasant look" for Googly. The film did well, ranking among the top-grossing Kannada films of the year. According to The Times of India, Yash's rising celebrity was the result of the success of Googly, which set him up to become one of the biggest stars in the business. A newspaper critic gave Yash "perfect marks" and praised his portrayal in the "sentimental moments," stating that Wadeyar "injected life into the plot with great craftsmanship". After Googly, Yash's on-screen persona served as the main selling point for a number of hero-focused movies, establishing him as a "mass hero". Raja Huli, a comedy-drama directed by Guru Deshpande and based on the successful 2012's Tamil film Sundarapandian, was his final release of 2013.
He starred in Krishna's commercially successful 2014's film Gajakesari, which was also co-directed by him. "Nobody could have performed this as well as he did", the critic for Sify commended, adding that it featured "a wonderfully crafted tale and a well-executed script with good visuals".
On December 25, 2014, he released Mr and Mrs Ramachari, starring Radhika Pandit, in theatres. It received positive reviews when it first came out, made an estimated 50 crore, and eventually became one of the highest grossing Kannada films.
He had an appearance in the critically acclaimed 2015's film Masterpiece. The Hindu critic Archana Nathan disapproved of the movie because of the clumsy comparison of the lead character to Bhagat Singh, and she said of Yash, "His line delivery is high-pitched and monotonous as is his acting". He then appeared in Santhu Straight Forward in 2016, which had a respectable box office performance and brought in around $30 crore.
K.G.F. and Recognition across India (as of 2018)
K.G.F: Chapter 1, the first of the two parts of the Prashanth Neel-directed K.G.F series, was released in Kannada in 2018 along with dubs in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam. Yash appeared in it. At the time of its production, it was the most costly Kannada film ever made ($800 million), and throughout its theatrical run, it performed well and earned the most money. For the part, Yash had his beard grown out. K.G.F.: Chapter 1 became a popular pan-Indian movie, bringing him widespread acclaim. The sequel, K.G.F: Chapter 2 (2022), starring him with Sanjay Dutt and Raveena Tandon, went on to become the third-highest earning Indian film of all time.
Foundation and Off-Screen Work
A social welfare non-profit organisation named YashoMarga Foundation was established in 2017 by Yash and Pandit. The foundation's first aim was to address a water problem in the Koppal district of Karnataka by spending around $40 million to desilt lakes and provide clean drinking water to 40 villages there. He requested police protection that year because he had received death threats. Yash managed the campaigns of S. R. Mahesh of the Janata Dal (Secular) in Krishnarajanagara and S. A. Ramdas of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Krishnaraja constituency during the 2018's Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections. In the Mandya constituency of 2019, he supported the independent candidate Sumalatha, the wife of Ambareesh.
In the headlines
After the 2009's premiere of Moggina Manasu, the media dubbed Yash a "wonder kid" for his attractiveness, demeanour, and "ability to dance to any melody". He would play roles that fit the "mass hero" stereotype in later movies. Nowadays, he is occasionally referred to as "Rocking Star Yash", a nickname that is said to have been coined by his followers in honour of his reputation as "a rugged idol who follows no rules but his own". Another reason for this title was to give successive hit movies at the box office.
Following the success of the K.G.F films, Yash became a pan-Indian superstar and is listed in the media as one of the few South Indian actors who have a following in North India. According to Yash, while his popularity in the Kannada industry came gradually over time, afterwards, widespread acclaim came about "overnight". He was referred to be the "poster boy of Kannada cinema" by Janani K. in a 2022's article for India Today since he was the most well-known member of that sector of the Indian film industry. He was the first Kannada actor on the Forbes India cover in 2019. In October 2021, Forbes India placed him third among South Indian celebrities with the biggest influence on Instagram.
Here is the list of famous movies by Yash, mostly released in Kannada:
Awards and Nominations
Here is the list of some awards that Yash was nominated for, or won:
One of the most liked South Indian actors, Yash, is believed to have a net worth of over $7 million (approximately Rs. 53 crores) as of 2022.