Naveen Sharma is one of the most recognizable names of the small screen. He is also a very talented dancer – and got his big break in 2014 by playing the role of Rakesh Deshmukh or Rocky in the acclaimed Mahesh Bhatt serial, “Udaan Sapnon Ki”. Recently, Naveen has also played starring roles in popular Hindi soaps such as “Kasauti Zindagi Kay”, “Naagin”, “Kundali Bhagya” and “Molkki”. We managed to conduct an exclusive interview with this upcoming star, where he talks about his childhood in Ajmer and his plans for the future. Keep on reading to find out more about this.
- Naveen, tell us a little bit about your journey as a performer.
Ever since I was a kid, I have been performing on stage. I was very interested in dance, and I also used to enter a lot of competitions and recitals on my own. I was pretty well-known in my school as the kid who dances, in fact. All of the school functions were also choreographed by me. I also started to dabble in the theatre while I was in school, but I never had the intention of making it into my career. Since I wanted to become a choreographer, I came to Bombay and enrolled at the Shaimak Davar Dance Academy.
After completing my diploma and degree course, I started to work at the academy as an instructor. All of my colleagues and instructors used to tell me that I have a very expressive face and that I should look to acting as a career. I wasn’t sure initially, but then I started auditioning and it was a really great experience. I landed a cameo spot in this show called Ganga, and I did some youth oriented shows for popular TV channels like MTV, Zing and Channel V.
2. What projects are you working on right now?
I got my first break playing in a show called “Udaan” which brought me a lot of fame. I did “Naagin 3”, which was also a really big show for me. Right now, I’m doing “Kundali Bhagya”, which is my fourth show with Balaji Telefilms. I have a wonderful relationship with the people at Balaji and I have always admire their professionalism. I wish we can preserve this bond for a long time. I’m also doing a show called “Mollki” for Colors right now. I’ve just finished shooting the first 10 episodes.
3. What character played by you is close to your heart?
“Kundali Bhagya” is also something that I am working on at the same time. This show is going really well, and my character is also resonating well with the audience. The fans of the show really like my character as well. I am enjoying it a lot because this is technically the first time I am playing a negative role. I did it in Naagin as well, but this one is a really special experience for me. I always used to think I’d dislike playing the negative role, but I am having a really great time playing the negative lead.
4. What major challenges/obstacles have you faced in your journey till now?
I grew up in Jaipur, and when I was growing up – reality TV shows were just starting to be aired on TV. So people did not really know that there was a career to be made out of this field. At first I had a hard time convincing my parents to let me explore dance and acting. But I managed to convince them, and now they’re all really proud of my career. Things are panning out well on all my fronts currently.
5. What have you learned about yourself ever since you became a celebrity?
Ever since I got into the field of acting, I have discovered that I possess the quality of humility. I grew up in a middle-class household in a small town, so I always have something that keeps me grounded. I have a lot of respect for all the artists and professionals working in the industry, which is something that a lot of my peers are currently lacking in. So I think that this is one of the most important things I’ve learnt about myself since I started working.
6. Who is your celebrity crush right now?
Right now, my biggest celebrity crush is Aditi Rao Hydari. She is an amazing actress and performer and she is also so pretty – I have always been a huge fan of her performances.
7. If you weren’t an actor, what would you have liked to do instead?
If I wasn’t an actor, I would have liked to make a career out of teaching. I actually do run a school in Jaipur where we train kids in the performing arts. Be it dance, theatre, musical instruments – we provide full-scale training to a lot of talented and passionate children. We also received affiliation from the University of Pune. I think I would have chosen a career where I would still be involved with the performing arts in some way. This is basically what I’m doing now.
8. Do you have one humorous story from your acting career that you’d like to share with us?
When I just started out in my first role in “Udaan”, I had zero clue about how film sets work. On my first day, I was looking for my makeup room and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then, I found a door and I opened it – and then I discovered that there was just a big wall behind the door. Getting used to the bustle of a set took some getting used to, and this is a really funny anecdote that I remember.
9. What is your personal favourite performance?
I think that the character I’m doing right now – Akshay from “Kundali Bhagya” is my favourite character. He is not a normal negative character as he has a lot of layers, which is something that I just enjoy channelling into the performance. He is a different person in front of different people, which was very challenging to bring out faithfully. But this character has had some unforeseen consequences as well. Sometimes, you bring these characters home with you and they can influence aspects of your life. Akshay’s character and his scripts started to give me some weird mood swings also.
10. What projects are you working on right now?
Right now, I am focusing on two shows. One is “Kundali Bhagya” for Zee TV, where I am playing the role of Akshay. The other is “Mollki”, which is currently being aired on Colors TV. I really like this role as well.
11. Who was your main support system when you started working in this field?
My biggest support system when I started working as a performer were my parents. My mom and dad always supported me through thick and thin, even though they had their doubts and fears. Another person who was my rock during this period of my life was my late grandfather, who was always kind enough to shower me with love, support and inspiration. He was always there to motivate me and give me inspiration to pursue my dreams.
12. Is there a role that you haven’t played but would like to someday?
I would really love to play a role in a large scale production of a mythological drama. I just love the grandeur and elegance associated with such roles, and it would be an honour if I ever got to play the role of Ashoka or Krishna. I can assure that I would be the first to try for such a role if I ever get the chance. It would most definitely be the experience of a lifetime.
Since I am a choreographer and a dancer by training, I always thought that I would dance to make a living. The acting thing changed a lot of stuff for me, but I would really love to play a role in which I am a dancer. It would be lovely to play a dancer on screen, and it would also be very close to what I dreamed of doing when I first started out at the Shaimak Davar Dance Academy.
13. What kind of role do you feel most comfortable with?
Since I started out my journey as a performer as a choreographer who worked behind the scenes, I would really like to play the role of a dancer someday. I also did some work in youth oriented shows – these were fun and easy to do. But I think that the role I would be the most comfortable in is my current role as Akshay in “Kundali Bhagya”. It is a new experience but I am enjoying every step of it.
14. Was there any defining moment where you decided you wanted to act professionally?
Not really, I never made a snap decision or had an epiphany where I decided that I wanted to act. I tried it out, discovered I loved it and I have been involved in it ever since.
15. What are your future plans?
I am keeping my fingers crossed for “Kundali Bhagya” and “Mollki”, as the characters I am playing on these shows are really great. For the immediate future, I hope these shows continue to do well and I play a large part in the grand scheme of things. In the distant future, I really want to try out an acting role where I play a dancer.
16. Do you have a message for your fans?
I would like to tell my fans that I am very grateful for their love and thoughtfulness. Their support is why I am able to keep going. Their passion for my art is something that always makes me very emotional and grateful.
So, here’s a quick excerpt from our communication with the talented actor! We wish him all the best for his future endeavors!