He began as an assistant director, before switching careers with a stint as RJ at World Space Satellite in the city. It was only in 2008 that Naveen Kumar Ghanta, better known as Nani, became an actor with the movie, 'Ashta Chamma'.
Now, 10 movies old, Nani is also known to Tamil audiences, thanks to last year’s 'Veppam', where he played an engineering student. Next up is S S Rajamouli’s big budget 'Eega', which is also being released in Tamil, and is scheduled to hit the screens this month. The actor hopes it will mark a turning point in his career.
More from the actor:
You play a housefly in the movie. How challenging is it?
I am there for a very short period in the movie, almost 20 minutes. I play a boy who is sweet, innocent and loves a girl madly. Then I die and become a fly to take revenge on the people who killed me.
Why a fly and not a more physical creature, like an elephant or a monkey?
We consider the fly to be the weakest creature. We squash it and kill it. According to human beings, a fly can never take revenge. But in this movie, the fly is the hero.
Is it true that the film has been inspired by Hollywood’s 'The Fly'?
From the time we announced the movie, people have been asking me this. So I watched the movie and I can tell you that Eega has got nothing to do with it.
Since the script has been written by Crazy Mohan, what can we expect?
This is a revenge story but at the same time, not very serious. To have Rajamouli and Crazy Mohan working for one banner is a killer combination.
How superior is 'Eega' going to be with reference to special effects?
This movie has been made with a budget of Rs 26 crores, of which seven crores of rupees was spent on special effects. It will be talked about for the next few years.
From assistant director to RJ and actor, the journey.
I used to hate being an RJ and would ask friends and colleagues to stop listening to my show. That said, I opened up a lot after being an RJ. Assistant direction made me love cinema.
Greatest fear: I’ve always wanted to be a director but wonder what it would be like to direct a film that nobody likes.
Fitness: I do not work out everyday. I do not think a six pack can make a film work, unless I am playing the role of a boxer.
Next up: I am in the Telugu version of Gautam Menon’s bilingual, 'Yeto Vellipoyindhi Manasu'. It is a love story. There is no competition or ego clash when it comes to me and Jiiva (the other hero). In fact we play a lot of pranks and have fun.