All the little stars! | 2008-05-13
The transition from child star to big star ain't all that easy
With big hits like 'Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke', 'Raja Hindustani' and wide scale critical acclaim for 'Zakhm', Kunal Khemu was on a roll. Quite literally! He was only a child star in these films but held his own in the presence of all those heavy weights. But when he wanted to get a re-launch as a fully fledged hero, he didn't quite want to talk about these very movies.
Why? Because the good old belief in Bollywood remains deep rooted-that good child actors seldom make successful stars!
Before going back to his mentor Mahesh Bhatt (yes, the self appointed Bollywood spokesperson was behind most of his success), he made it a point to keep mum and not talk to the press till the film actually 'happened'. As if he was already too aware of that predicament! Surely the track records of the Master Raju's and Junior Mehmood's scared him no end!
Not that the strategy really helped. 'Kalyug' is long forgotten and 'Signal' only got average response. Super duds 'Dhol' and 'Superstar' followed after that!
For the girls, it's been a lot easier. Hansika Motwani's a big example. Come on, wasn't she a very successful child star till as late as early 2004? Then all of a sudden she re-emerges as this full grown woman and lands a role opposite Mr 'Nasal twang' Himesh Reshammiya in 2007. In fact, by then she had already done a South film and had signed a film with Mithun Chakraborty's son, Mimoh which was launched in late 2005. This was actually supposed to be her launch pad in Bollywood but got scrapped due to various reasons.
Never mind her pathetic choice of leading men, but what on earth made her so ready in a period of just one and half years? Maybe a few hormone shots and rounds to the cosmetic surgeon's place did all the wonders! Now she has 'Money hai to honey hai' with Govinda (Gawd, even Mr Pillow's daughter is probably elder than her) to flaunt. Though it's a long way ahead, the 'suddenly happened' lady sure looks promising.
Long time oomph woman in Bollywood, Urmila Matondkar would agree more. She was the overactive kid in 'Masoom' and the quiet one in Shashi Kapoor's 'Kalyug.' The way she managed to break away from her 'Masoom' identity and packaged herself in a new hot avatar is remarkable. We all remain dazed!
Jugal Hansraj was her perfect honeycomb brother in the same film whose career fell fully flat as an adult. Even Urmila couldn't save his career by starring in an 'Aa Gale Lag Jaa' with him. Bit parts in various films (notably Yashraj) for the wannabe still continues! Last heard, he is fiddling with direction.
Ranbir Kapoor's mom Neetu Singh had begun as Baby Sonia in the super hit 'Do Kalian', followed by roles in 'Pavitra Paapi' and 'Waaris.' Sarika grew into the pretty hazel eyed actress after often playing little boy roles in movies like 'Manjhali Didi', 'Hamraaz' etc. Padmini Kolhapure was amazing as the young Zeenat Aman in 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' and later proved her mettle as a heroine with 'Prem Rog.'
Much before that Nargis was Baby Nargis and perhaps the first great star to perform as a child star when she appeared in 'Talashe Haq' in 1935. Meena Kumari was Baby Meena, a child star, directors in the 40s banked on. And ethereally beautiful Madhubala was Baby Mumtaz, the smiling angel in 'Basant' before turning stunning leading lady in 'Mahal.'
While there were many others who went into oblivion quite easily. This unfortunate lot includes Ratan Kumar who shone in 'Boot Polish' before migrating to Pakistan, Master Romi with hits like 'Footpath', 'Do Phool' and 'Ab Dilli Dur Nahin', Mehmood Jr who even proved one up on his senior rendering 'Kale hain to kya hua dil wale hain' and Master Raju, who was first cast as a three year old in 'Parichay' by Gulzar. Before a failed career as a big guy, he went on to become almost a must-have in Hindi films in the 70s, often stealing scenes from lead actors!
As for Aftab Shivdasani, who acted in 'Mr. India' (it also starred choreographer-director Ahmed Khan as a child artist), 'Shahenshah', 'ChaalBaaz', 'Awwal Number' etc, the road hasn't been all that smooth. Isn't he still looking for that big solo hit as a leading hero after almost a decade in the industry?
The Irani sisters, Daisy and Honey Irani, became household names and their films fetched the biggest openings. Daisy couldn't measure up to that success as an adult star while Honey Irani (Farhan Akhtar's mum) made a mark as story and screenplay writer later. Ditto for little star Baby Tabassum who became more comfy turning National TV host! And yes, Baby Naaz, too! It was believed that after having been around for so long as a child artiste, it became difficult for them to be accepted by people suddenly as romantic heroines.
No wonder Hansika, Urmila and the like went underground for so many years!
Now hear the somewhat surprising bit! Childhood acting became a perfect practice ground for some who turned super stars later! Though it was just for sometime, these people enjoyed the period to the core!
Shashi Kapoor who had made his acting debut at age six continued working as a child artist in many mythological films and also played Raj Kapoor's younger counterpart. Rishi Kapoor too rocked as Raj Kapoor's younger version in 'Mera Naam Joker.' Sridevi started as a child artist when she was just four appearing in a string of Tamil and Telugu mythologicals. Sanjay Dutt faced the camera when he was 12 in his father Sunil Dutt's 'Reshma Aur Shera.' And Mr Perfectionist Aamir Khan appeared as a child artist in his dad's 'Yaadon Ki Baarat. Bet, he was looking for perfection then too!
Bobby Deol had a 10-second appearance in Manmohan Desai's 'Dharam Veer' where he played a young Dharamendra.
And Hrithik Roshan, heartthrob of millions, acted like a pro at the tender age of six in 'Aap Ke Deewane' and 'Aasha'. This was followed by a big chunk of role in 'Bhagwan Dada' sharing screen space with the heroes and also dancing with Sridevi in a song!
Now the major issue with the proverbial child star is that they make 'over' acting look like a rather understated word. 'Makdi' and 'Iqbal's Shweta Prasad is a fairly good actor but irritating to the core. Ditto for 'Ek Ajnabee' and 'Main Aisa hi hoon's Rucha Vaidya. This girl might idolise Hollywood child wonder Dakota Fanning but is a complete 'unnatural' unlike her!
Ayesha Kapoor from 'Black' with her foreign accent and all however stands out. And Darsheel Safary who outshone all in 'Taare Zameen Par' might be over smart in real life but is a damn good actor. No two ways about that!
And there are others too like 'Sexy' Swini Khara (Cheeni Kum) and the little teachers from Shahrukh's 'Paanchvi Paas' who are likely to be acting contenders in the future.
Well, I can't really make predications about their future. Let's wait and watch, what say?