Hailing from Delhi, Naveen Kastruia rose to fame with TVF drama series Pitchers in 2015, and his latest show Aspirants has recently crossed 35 million views on Youtube.
Kasturia plays the lead role in the five-episode web series made by The Viral Fever. The actor says, “We have got a very good response for it. It came out when it was the worst time for our nation, and all of us were home. That’s why lot of people watched it and liked it too.”
Aspirants is a friendship story, set in the backdrop of IAS. “The story in the present is of an IAS officer, and then it goes to the past, to show how he prepared in Rajinder Nagar, and despite the problems, still became an IAS officer,” adds the 36-year-old.
Kasturia wanted to become an actor since childhood. He did plays throughout school and college, but coming from a middle class family, he had to opt for a stable career path. “I took up science, and engineering became the automatic route. I remember I didn’t want to be an actor anymore by the time I reached Class 11. But while working with an analytics firm, I was not finding my chosen career exciting,” he adds.
That’s when he decided to move to Mumbai in 2008. “Since I was working and earning well, it was quite difficult for my parents to accept that I was shifting to Mumbai.”
One day, he randomly went to Mahesh Bhatt’s office, and luckily met the directors of Jashn, Raksha Mistry and Hasan Hyderabadwala. “I did not know they were about to start a movie. But I was lucky and they hired me as an assistant director. Later, of course I met Mr Bhatt,” he adds.
That was his first step in the industry. “While working on that film, someone connected me to Dibakar Banerjee, and I went on to assist him for Shanghai and Love, Sex, aur Dhokha. I also had a small role in Shanghai. Then, I worked in Sulemaani Keeda by Newton director Amit V Masurkar. It was my first film, and it went to a lot of film festivals. It was appreciated at MAMI Festival, but it didn’t help me much. It would have done well in today’s times because OTT is doing really well,” he feels.
He hustled for a lot of time. “Then Pitchers happened and it gave me recognition and changed a lot of things for me. It brought stability in my life. And I am happy that we are making Season 2. We are planning to shoot in November and December,” says Kasturia, adding that of all the projects he has worked on, he enjoyed working the most on Bose, Thinkistaan, Picthers, Aspirants, and Sulemaani Keeda.
He hopes Season 2 will have more tension, more drama, more struggle, and for the characters to be more endearing. Meanwhile, the actor recently seen in Pati, Patni aur Panga, and Runaway Lugaai, is busy working on advertisements and is in talks for some projects.
He believes when you play characters that are different from your own personality, it’s a different experience altogether, and shares that Amit in Thinkistaan and Darbari Lal in Bose: Dead/Alive was the most challenging of all the characters he has played till now.
Did you ever feel that you won’t be able to make it in the industry?
“After working as an assistant director, I had thought I can direct a film. Actually, I was trying to be a filmmaker, and in 2010, I was ready with my script. I had given it to many people. They would even meet me because I was Dibakar Banerjee’s assistant but nothing really happened to the script. I was directionless then. I even sat for GMAT in 2011, and thought of going to America and do a course in filmmaking, and join a famous production house, so that I have the power to make films.
But as of now, I want to focus on acting,” adds the actor, who wants to work with names like Zoya Akhtar, Shoojit Sircar, Sriram Raghavan, Dibakar Banerjee, and Abhishek Chaubey. “As an actor now, I have become better, but there is still a long way to go. As a human being, I have become more accepting, and I understand my flaws. I am becoming better by taking rejections. I want to be much calmer person in life,” he concludes.