Hyderabad: Child stars are lighting up the small screen with some power-packed performances these days. Whether as leads or as central characters, these kids have won the hearts of millions along with boosting their shows’ TRPs.
From Spandan Chaturvedi who plays Chakor in the show Udaan, a child fighting to be freed from the bonds of slavery after being mortgaged by her parents, to Shivansh Kotia, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’s Naksh, these kids are naturals in front of the camera.
Multi-tasking doesn’t seem to be an issue as these children have organised schedules perfectly. Ruhanika Dhawan who plays Ruhi, a kid from a broken home who adores her step-mother in Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, explains, “School gets over at three in the afternoon and I report to the sets by five. I shoot till nine in the evening.”
Ruhanika says she only shoots two to three times a week. While studies and acting are two things she has in control, finances are something she leaves to her parents. “I put all her earnings in a fixed deposit. Once she grows up, she can use this money for either further studies or anything else she likes,” says her mother.
For her birthday this year, producer Ekta Kapoor gifted her money, but that too she will get to splurge once she grows up.
Another child actor who ensures her education is not ignored is Ashnoor Kaur who played Nanhi in Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha. Her father in fact has certain conditions inserted into her contract to ensure that she doesn’t end up missing school due to shoots. Ashnoor doesn’t feel over-worked either because production houses are normally very considerate with kids.
“I enjoy acting and I do it because I love it. My parents support me financially so I don’t have to work to earn a living.” Her father saves all her earnings and says that once she grows up she can spend it the way she likes.
And about emoting on screen she says, “I follow my director’s instructions.”
Shivansh Kotia is another good actor. Whether it was trying to forge a bond with his father who came out of coma after years or coming to terms with the fact that he is diabetic, Shivansh has adapted himself to all the various tracks of the show. When asked what motivates him to work so hard, he laughs and says, “Fame.” Shivansh too shoots for just two days a week and his schedule is not taxing. These kids enjoy their acting stints because apart from flexible work schedules, meaty roles and fame, they are treated very well by their production houses.
Talking about how they handle kids and get them to emote, Yeh Hai Mohabbatein’s director Randeep Mahadhik says, “We have to understand the state of mind of a kid. Today’s children are hardworking, but we need to understand things like them feeling sleepy during late night shoots.” Randeep adds, “These kids are very energetic, we need to direct that energy in the right direction. Also it’s important to have a happy environment on sets.”
Producer/Director Rajan Sahi feels TV is a great platform for kids as it provides them with a stage to show-off their talent, teaches them to be disciplined and hard-working from a young age and also gives them great exposure. Rajan believes that their roles on TV are like extra-curricular activities after school.
Udaan’s director Gurudev Bhalla loves working with kids as he says they are easy to get along with and are compatible with everyone. There are no egos, under-currents or bad blood with them. He also likes the fact that they are honest. “Unlike adult actors, they will come and tell you if there is an issue, even if it is something like they are too tired to shoot.”
Since Udaan’s backbone is its child actors, Bhalla says sometimes body doubles are used to ease the work pressure. “Also, shoots are organised in such a way that the kids get two hours for themselves after lunch.” In fact, tuition teachers are often seen teaching them on sets so that they are up to date at school. And as an extra perk, they treated to chocolates everyday!...