Manju Pavagada emerged as the winner of Bigg Boss Kannada Season 8, which was announced at the finale held on August 8, aired on Colors Kannada. Manju won the popular reality TV show, hosted by Kichcha Sudeep, by taking down 20 other contestants. Manju Pavagada, who took home the trophy and cash prize of Rs 53 lakhs, is yet to figure out what to do with the money. “I haven’t seen so much money in my life. I have only heard about such a huge sum. So, I don’t know what to do with it. I always wished to look after my parents well, and I am sure to fulfill it with this money.”
Manju got considerable limelight with the comedy TV show Majaa Bharatha, but with Bigg Boss Kannada, he has become a household name in Karnataka. However, his road to success wasn’t as easy as it looks. Hailing from Tumkur, Manju was a struggling artiste in Bengaluru. He has no qualms in revealing that he was bad at academics. He failed PUC six consecutive times and has also worked in petrol bunk to get by. Yet, all through his struggle, Manju held his silver screen dream intact.
“Even as I was working at a petrol bunk for a living, I was working towards fulfilling my dream. As a first step, I joined an acting class, where I trained for six months. Secondly, I took up theatre for which I did a one-month workshop at Ninasam theatre, and I got into an amateur theatre group. I attended a lot of auditions and was rejected numerous times before I got my first stint at the Comedy show Majaa Bharatha,” says Manju.
The comedy show was the turning point in his life. The skit titled Bachelor propelled him to fame, and people started calling him Lag Manja. “From then there was no looking back for me,” says Manju, who was also credited as a writer for various shows.
Talking about his entry into Bigg Boss after being part of Majaa Bharatha for about four years, he says, “I was one among the recognised faces inside the house along with actors like Shubga Poonja, Nidhi Subaiah, and serial actor Vaishnavi, My comic sense made me stand out of the lot and helped me win many hearts. Also, this Bigg Boss season was split into two seasons because of the Covid situation, which helped me as well. I understood how much the viewers love my comedy timing. It boosted me to perform better when I entered the house for the second innings.”
Manju Pavagada considers Sudeep to be his huge inspiration, and he is also a die-hard fan of Shivarajkumar. So far, he has done only a bunch of blink-and-you-miss roles in Kannada cinema, and Manju is determined to change that “I have been part of films like Ramarjuna and Brahmachari. I have got an opportunity to work in Shinvanna’s upcoming film, Bhajarangi 2,” says Manju, who is aiming to become a known face on the silver screen. At the same time, he is grateful to the TV industry. “The small screen has provided me a fantastic platform and helped me to gain recognition,” says Manju, who signs off with a statement, “I want to entertain the audience with my good sense of humour.”