Time was when Suresh Unnithan’s ‘Rishyasringan’ hit the theatres. The 1997 film that narrated the story of a youngster in love with an older woman was the topic of discussion in many circles. Debutante Krishna who played his part convincingly got many a pat on his back. He went on to romance popular heroines of the time - including Manju Warrier in ‘Daya,’ Samyuktha Varma in ‘Vaazhunnor,’ and Indraja in ‘Independence’ - and rubbed shoulders with a number of directors in their prestigious projects.
But somewhere down the line, things turned topsy-turvy for the actor who earned the envy of his classmates at Sacred Heart, Thevara, for wooing the beautiful Bhanupriya in his first film. “I have a rich legacy of acting, the dignity of which I’ve always tried hard to maintain (Krishna is the grandson of actor Lalitha of the famous Lalitha-Padmini-Ragini trio). When good roles stopped coming my way, I found respite in the ad world, modelling and in running my father’s business,” says the actor turned restaurateur who runs Tandoor and Chillies, two of the most popular restaurants in the city.
But time and tide in tinseltown are turning in his favour again. With a handful of projects where he plays the hero, second hero and villain, Krishna’s film career is starting to look up. While you catch him as Sundaram, an LTTE aide in the Suresh Gopi starrer ‘Ramaravanan,’ Suku Menon’s ‘Kalabhamazha’ will bring him to the forefront again in a hero’s role. The second innings will also see him don prominent roles in Nandakumar’s ‘Avan’ with Bala and Vijay Yesudas, T S Suresh Babu’s ‘Kanyakumari Express’ and Dr Janardhanan’s ‘Sahasram.’ “This is a second-coming of sorts and I’m testing the waters in negative roles as well. Not many young heroes of the day prefer playing characters with negative shades,” he says with a dashing smile.
Krishna has always wanted to be known as a good actor than a successful businessman. “But when cinema eluded me, I fell back on business for sustenance.” Carving a niche for oneself in the hospitality industry is a tough job, he asserts. “And when you are a known face, you are directly answerable for any shortcoming in customer satisfaction. When I took over ‘Chillies’ seven years ago, there were people who insisted the white rice in the Andhra meals platter be replaced with brown rice. But we stuck to it and Kochiites now love the white rice culture. Similarly, we have politely turned down requests to attach a bar to our restaurants. Which is why family crowds love our place.”
Krishna candidly admits that it was a tough time when people always quizzed him on why he “quit” films. “No one was as bothered when I had plenty of films in my kitty. There were times when I kept myself indoors to escape the painful queries. I learnt to take things in my stride the hard way. My family has always been my greatest support system,” says Krishna, who is married to Shikha, a lawyer by profession. The couple have a three-year-old son, Shiva, who’ll soon be seen on the silverscreen. (“He has just finished a few screen tests.”)
Besides the five films he’s now doing in Malayalam, Krishna will be seen in a negative role in Tamil in a Vijay-starrer. This will be the second time he’s acting with the Kollywood superstar after ‘Shajahan’ (2001).
Krishna acknowledges the fact that cinema is a gamble and that the star status may fall any time. “I’ve dabbled in Malayalam, Kannada and Tamil films. There are many uncertainties in this field. But I have forever been optimistic. My patience has finally paid off and substantial roles are coming my way.” And Krishna is equipped to face any weather - rain or shine.