Mzansi actor, Koobeshen Naidoo, is making waves in the entertainment industry. Briefly.co.za spoke to the Imbewu: The Seed actor in an exclusive interview, ahead of the blockbuster movie, Kandasamys: The Wedding, which he also stars in.
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From a dedicated teacher to following his passion to make his mark in the entertainment world, Koobeshen Naidoo put his passion first and is now living his dreams. Koobeshen said he took the safer route and instead of going straight into the performance field, he became a drama teacher. His wife, Kumseela, and he spent 10 years together raising their family and establishing themselves in their chosen careers. She was also a drama educator.
"Then the acting bug really bit and we had to get back on stage. So during working hours we were dedicated educators and during evenings and weekends we were parents and actors. Rehearsals were generally held in the evenings and shows were over the weekends but we always ensured that this did not interfere with time for our children," he said.
In the last two years acting has really taken off for Koobeshen, largely due to the success of the movie, Keeping up with the Kandasamys. He then landed the role in Imbewu: The Seed and had to unfortunately resign from teaching.
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The Westville resident currently plays the role of Pranav Rampershad on eTV's Imbewu: The Seed. He plays a rich oil businessman who is trying to run his company and keep his family happy.
"This has been an amazing experience for me and has made me so much more recognisable by so many more people. Walking around in the malls now is really an experience with the constant recognition and photographs. Being on the Imbewu set has really expanded my acting especially working with the phenomenal experienced actors opposite me," he said.
The local star said fellow actors like Thembi Mtshali, Leleti Khumalo and Tony Kgoroge have been amazing to watch and learn from. Koobeshen added that the rest of the cast are really talented and tons of fun off set as well. Koobeshen said the directors and the crew have been really supportive and their work ethic is amazing.
Koobeshen was born on 1 March in Port Shepstone and in a strange coincidence both his parents were also born on the first of a month. Koobeshen has two younger brothers, one in Australia and one in Gauteng and both married Naidoo girls, just like him.
Koobeshen married his long-time sweetheart, Kumseela Naidoo 28 years ago and they have three gorgeous children. His eldest, Dheyanka Naidoo, is 26 years old and is a qualified copywriter but is following her passion in playing cricket for the Dolphins women's team and coaches school teams as well. His second-born son, Yuvaan Naidoo, is 24 and has just qualified as a dentist. At the moment he is working in a hospital in Nseleni in northern KZN close to the Mozambique border. The youngest is Nashka Naidoo and is in matric this year. He also has two dogs and a rabbit.
The charming actor studied drama at the University of Durban Westville at the Asoka Theatre and said he spent some of the best years of his life there and it is also where he met his wife.
He added that 16 years ago a group of friends got together for a meeting and from this, the comedy group, The Dingalings was born.
Yugan Naidoo, Vivian Moodley, Kumseela and Koobeshen formed this theatre world in KZN. They recruited Henry Ramkissoon and the rest as they say, is history. The group created two to three new shows every year since their inception and have done more than 40 shows starting with Four Dingalings and a Ding to Chops Choons and Spano Dops to their latest show called Henry for President.
"We filled a niche in the theatre market for adult comedy and really attracted a massive following. We also wrote and produced more than 10 children's plays that we performed at the Catalina Theatre over the school holidays. These plays were really amazing and tons of fun. As a company we also produced, wrote and starred in two radio dramas on Lotus FM," said Koobeshen.
Over the years the multi-talented Koobeshen had minor roles in movies but his 'big break' was Keeping up with the Kandasamys. He added that it was a fantastic movie to perform in with the friendly cast, crew and the fabulous director, Jayan Moodley.
"Now we are getting ready for the sequel Kandasamy: The Wedding. This sequel is really amazing and we are all hoping it bypasses the first movie. The cast is generally the same with my old friend Yugan Naidoo playing my old friend in the movie."
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Briefly.co.za quizzed funny-man Koobeshen on a few subjects and this is what he had to say:
Q: If you had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be in any movie, what movie would you pick?
A: Hangover...I would love to be in this movie. You can be so comfortable as these whacky characters and I think it will suit me because our Dingaling plays have a similar story line and theme. The craziness would just suit me fine.
Q: What's your most ambitious moment in your career so far?
A: I'm often scolded by Kumseela for not being ambitious enough...and right now I'm really happy with my role in Imbewu. The Rampershad storyline is going to get explosive again so that will definitely keep us on our toes. I'm really excited as to where my character is going and I'm working really hard to ensure that I can pull out all the stops.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: My greatest fear is that South Africa is moving in the wrong direction especially since we have so much going for us. I just hope everyone can pull together and make this the great country it can be. We have phenomenal people in our country, fantastic sportspeople, politicians, ordinary citizens, artists and musicians...we just have to ensure that we put our country first...My other fears are heights and locusts
Q: Who is your role model?
A: My role model is my wife Kumseela. The energy she has when tackling life is so inspiring. She has a full time career as an educator, She runs our home exceptionally well considering the odd hours I work now - cooks amazingly well, sorts out the kids and their issues, spends time with her elderly mum and in laws, then still finds time to be the mainstay when it comes to marketing and organising the Five guys in The Dingalings. With this workload she still finds time to shop...she epitomises the image of a modern working wife. I really take my hat off to her.
Q: What are your future plans for your career?
A: I'm really happy and comfortable right now in my role on Imbewu-The seed. Hopefully that goes on for a bit.. I'm hoping to make a movie with The Dingalings that really takes our whacky sense of humour to a wider audience. Hopefully a sitcom, or 1 or 2 more movies.
Q: What's the most expensive thing you've bought?
A: Apart from the house or a car the most expensive has been my wifes clothes and shoes
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Reading, sport and hiding from my wife when she has things to do or when she wants to go shopping.
Q: Where do you usually hang out or your favourite place to eat?
A: We generally hang out in Pavilion or Gateway but really enjoy just being at home. Favourite place to eat - Jimmys Prawns at Westwood where we are always treated like royalty. The staff and food is amazing...it helps that they all watch Imbewu or know me form the Kandasamy movie.
Q: How many books have you read and what's your favourite book?
A: I read at least a book every two or three days...Bargain Books is my favourite store. I really enjoy anything by Patterson or Lee Child but will read anything that piques my interest.
Q: Whats your favourite drink and snack?
A: Passion fruit and lemonade and nuts...I've learnt the hard way to stay away from Long Island iced teas.
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