He was born in Hyderabad and has lived in Karnataka, but his mother tongue is Tamil. The youngster, who debuted with Palaniappa Kalloori in Tamil, went on to make a name for himself in Tollywood with Andala Rakshasi (AR). Now Naveen Chandra is back with a bilingual titled Koottam, where he plays a Naxalite.
So real was Naveen’s Naxal look in the film that, at one point, the police caught his car at a check post along with his dummy AK 47, thinking he was a real Naxalite! It was only when the unit car came to his rescue that he was let off!
Speaking to CE, Naveen discloses, “I always wanted to be part of Tamil films because more realistic films are made here. I am so glad I got this opportunity to work with Jeevan Reddy in Koottam. I play a Naxalite who returns to the city, and the problems he faces is the story.” The film is based on real life incidents from the 90s, when a group of seven Naxalites returned to the city.
Though the entry was easy, the role was tough. Naveen shot in Naxal-infested areas for 21 days. “At one point, we learnt that the real Naxals had been observing our shoot from close quarters! They revealed that they had apprehensions about how they were being portrayed, but were satisfied after watching our shoot! That was a scary moment,” recalls Naveen.
Coffee shops have had a huge role to play in Naveen’s life. The opportunity to act in AR, with which he became a acclaimed hero, first came to him at a coffee shop. He grins, “I was at a coffee shop when the writer of the film spotted me. He liked my rugged looks and beard, which were apt for the role. My acting entry into Tollywood was that much easier.” As luck would have it, during the final day of shoot for AR, Naveen was sipping coffee at the Irani Tea Café when director Jeevan Reddy spotted him. “I kept going there regularly for five days and Jeevan had observed my body language without my knowledge and felt I would suit the Naxal character. So that’s how the offer came to me for Koottam,” grins Naveen.