Ankita Chakrabarty/ Zee Research Group
Kunal Khemu, the popular child artiste of 90s’, has not allowed his past to deter him from making yet another attempt as an adult star in the fiercely competitive world of Bollywood.
The child artiste of ‘Zakhm’ fame returns to the big screen with zombie flick ‘Go Goa Gone’, due for release later this month.
Like Khemu, many yesteryear child artistes, are keen to sustain their brand as an actor in Bollywood, which have had a mixed bag on offer for child artistes seeking continued admiration from viewers as they grow older.
First, the enduring success stories: Rishi Kapoor played the role of a young Raj Kapoor in ‘Mera Naam Joker’ (1970) and his performance was appreciated very well by critics. Three years later, he acted in Bobby (1973) and since then there is hardly anyone till now who is as energetic and enthusiastic like him in the film industry.
Mr. Perfect, ‘Aamir Khan’ began his career in Hindi movies at the age of eight in his uncle Nasir Hussain`s film called ‘Yaadon ki Baarat’ (1973) as a child artist. Eleven years later he appeared in a movie called ‘Holi ‘(1984) but he tasted professional success with the cult movie ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ (1988). He is undoubtedly one of the most successful and highest paid actors in Bollywood. Sridevi made her acting debut at the age of four in a Tamil film called ‘Kandan Karunai’ after which she began acting in several regional and Bollywood movies and there has been no looking back for her. Today even at the age of 49, her excellent performance and breathtaking beauty made her win several accolades in her comeback film ‘English Vinglish’. She has just been awarded Padama Shri for her contribution to Indian cinema.
Hrithik Roshan, the man known for his Greek looks or in other words the most beautiful man was only six when he appeared in movies like ‘Aasha’(1980), that same year he also played a role in Rakesh Roshan starrer, ‘Aap ke Deewane’(1980). He also assisted his father in ‘Karan Arjun’ (1995) and ‘Koyla’ (1997).
Urmila Matondkar, the ‘Rangeela ‘girl played the role of ‘Pinky’ in the critically acclaimed movie ‘Masoom’ (1983) directed by Shekhar Kapur. Urmila had a very successful career in Hindi cinema; she is known for her excellent dance moves, nowadays she is seen judging reality shows.
Similarly, gen next tribe of child artistes, who eaned enduring success includes Imran Khan, the young and dashing heartthrob who began his stint in Bollywood as a young Aamir in two movies- ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ and ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’. He made his acting debut as a professional actor with the movie ‘Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na’ in 2008, the movie was a huge hit and he was appreciated both by the public as well as by the critics. Since then, he is among the top actors whom any director would love to cast in his/her film.
Good roles act as a differentiator. Reiterating the view, film critic Taran Adarsh, says, “The success depends on the kind of roles an actor is getting to portray and moreover, one has to come out of the child image and need to do something which is totally in contrast with what one has been doing to leave a mark.”
But the Indian film industry has not been all that lucky for all the child artists who later chose acting as their professional career.
To begin with Shahid Kapoor along with Ayesha Takia acted in the Complan ad as The Complan Boy! and The Complan Girl !, Shahid has established himself as an actor and has a huge fan following but Ayesha Takia has just two –three movies to her credit with ‘ Dor’ (2006) directed by Nagesh Kukunoor was the only movie where she was appreciated for her performance but could not survive in the cut throat competition.
Aftab Shivdasani, the tall and handsome guy appeared in several TV commercials and popular movies like Mr. India, Shahenshah, ChaalBaaz, and Insaniyat and then debuted as a full –fledged actor in ‘Mast’ (1999) alongside Urmila.He tried a lot to prove his acting abilities with movies like ‘Kasoor’ (2001) and Hungama (2003) but got sidelined and now he is seen mostly as side actors.
Jugal Hansraj , most popularly known as ‘the Masoom child’ as he acted in the movie ‘ Masoom’(1983) , could never launch himself in the mainstream cinema , he tried with one or two movies like ‘ Papa Kehte Hai’(1996) and ‘Mohabbatein’(2000) but failed to create a lasting impression among the viewers. He also directed two movies one was an ‘animated film Roadside Romeo’ (2008) and another romantic comedy ‘Pyaar Impossible’ (2010) but both of them could not create any ripples at the BO.
The public is the almighty of Bollywood. Concurring with the above view, film critic Adarsh says, “In Indian cinema, it all depends on the viewer’s choice. Also, one cannot ignore the combination of talent and luck for achieving stardom in Bollywood.”
So overall, the future of child artists in Bollywood has been a mixed bag. Rubina and Azhar, the star kids of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ (2009) have proved that fate does play a role in an individual’s life. They have really walked the red carpet of the ‘Academy Awards’ with grace and confidence and their immense screen presence make them the next big thing in the tinsel town provided that they continue to be one among the blessed people.