‘Gultoo can’t be found in dictionaries’
....says debutant actor Naveen Shankar talking about his upcoming crime thriller
Debutant Naveen Shankar begins his journey with Gultoo, directed by Janardhan Chikkanna. It's interesting to note that, unlike heroes who vie for a commercial subject to make their mark, this young actor from a theatre background has opted for a story that is content driven. Fortunately, he has caught the audience’s attention even before the film’s release. Thanks to the right kind of trailers and teasers that got released over time, the film has evoked further interest.
The newcomer says Gultoo is subject-driven with strong characterisation. But ask him to define the title and he says, “Gultoo is not a dictionary word, but there are a few reasons for choosing this title. While it is a catchy name, it gives meaning to the film and adds weightage to the various sequences. One can’t define Gultoo in just one line. It is a key element and should be experienced to be understood,” says Naveen.
The first-timer feels that Gultoo is coming at the right time, when cyber crime is on the rise. “My character is a very confident person. Am I the criminal or not is the suspense the film. It will be thrilling to figure out if he commits the crime or gets involved in it by chance,” says Naveen.
The 'con' glasses is how Naveen describes the accessory worn by the lead actors including Sonu Gowda, Avinash, Rangayana Raghu and himself. In the film, it is not just for attraction, but they have a statement to make, the actor reveals. “The reason we call it 'con' glasses is because it has been mostly worn by actors who played negative characters in old films. Similarly, the glass holds a symbolic representation. Though we don’t verbally mention it, their purpose will be understood by the audience,” he adds.
Naveen became a part of this film through his association with college batchmate and director Janardhan Chikkanna. “I started a Kannada theatre group in college, while he was planning a movie club. That’s how we met first. But I discontinued my studies after 1st year and went to professional theatre, while he, after completing his education went to study Films at MGR Film Institute,” says the actor, who did a few short films before entering silver screen. “Unfortunately, my first project got stalled halfway through the shoot. And now we're both starting our careers with Gultoo,” he says.
Coming from Illakal, Bagalkot, it was not any childhood dream for Naveen to become an actor. “There was interest in acting and I was influenced by the Kannada cinema I watched on DD channels. But I only considered acting seriously once I came to Bengaluru and joined college. I took up theatre over acting school, because I felt I could gain confidence on the stage,” he tells us.
The debutante is happy to have already signed his second project. “Gramayana is another film I have recently signed. As I prefer quality over numbers, I intend to only take up projects which interest me,” he signs off.