HYDERABAD: I was an introvert. I suffered from an inferiority complex. I never travelled by public transport as people would laugh at my face and gossip about my weight, height, complexion, skin and even my second name,” confesses Harsha Chemudu, aka Viva Harsha, the actor who seems to be in demand in Telugu movies and OTT platforms. Nearly seven years later, after he graduated as a mechanical engineer from Chaitanya Engineering College, Vizag, the spotlight is on him.
He has a talk show named after him – Tamasha with Harsha on Aha app. He is also the co-host of SamJam, a talk show alongside Tollywood’s top actor and glam diva Samantha Akkineni, also on the same OTT platform. “I don’t have even a day off till February 2021. I am working on weekends and public holidays too. But no complaints, that’s the best space to be in, for an actor,” says the Vizag boy who has been living in Hyderabad since 2014.
Recalling how the actor in him took birth, he says that when things went out of hand and it was hell even just stepping out to face the public, one fine day he decided to take control of his life and face his fear of being ridiculed. He then signed up for an informal, casual short film titled Viva shot at GITAM Campus and the video went viral. The rest is history.
“Lockdown was all about finding a new me. As movie halls were shut and production houses were on a pause, there was a sudden demand for content and talent and I guess I was spotted at the right time. I was lucky that I had releases such as Krishna and His Leela, Maa Vintha Gaada Vinuma and of course Colour Photo, which won me rave reviews. I had hyped my hard-hitting role and told my folks how my role will linger with them. The role clicked and appreciation flowed from all quarters and put me in the league of a talented actor. Friends and fans said, they never knew I could act this way until they saw me playing Bala Yesu in the recent OTT movie Colour Photo.” Talking about his aha moment in life, he recalls, “I had a fanboy moment when I was hosting alongside Samantha.
I was working for Tamasha with Harsha which was being planned even before lockdown and kicked off around August. The SamJam offer came after Colour Photo as the crew felt that sometimes the show could get emotional and they wanted someone who could lighten up the mood and had an inherent fun vibe. They found me apt for the role and that’s how I came on board,” he elaborates. Meeting Megastar Chiranjeevi on the show, being able to mouth his dialogues and actually perform a few hook steps from his own movies in the presence of the star is among the most cherished moments of his life.
“This Christmas, I am travelling – going to Goa from Vizag for a shoot,” he says, about his weekend and yearend plans. A TEDxSpeaker and an automotive enthusiast, Harsha says that he has spent his formative years studying in multiple schools at Vizag, Goa and even Anakapalle which gave him new perspectives in life. Bikes are his only indulgence. “I recently blew up Rs 3.6 lakh to own a Yamaha RD 350, one of the 32 bikes in India.” He misses the beach while in Hyderabad.
What does Harsha have to say to all those who made fun of him back then? “I am not vengeful. I forgive and forget. In fact, I want to thank them for triggering the right emotions in me to face my fears and become what I am today.”
Viva Harsha, the rising star of Telugu entertainment with his comedy roles, talks shows and stand-up kind of programmes, talks about his journey from being laughed at – for his height, weight, complexion, skin and even his second name – to being able make people laugh now with his work
— Manju Latha Kalanidhi firstname.lastname@example.org @mkalanidhi