We start with Master Satyajeet, our favorite child star of all times. Satya as we fondly call him is yesteryear actor Daljeet Puri’s son. He made a special place in our hearts with his innocent face, bright eyes, angelic smile and sweet voice. He never seemed to act acting, a complete natural on screen, performing some of the most difficult scenes with amazing ease. He became the little brother we always wanted, remember ‘Phoolon Ka Taaron Ka‘ from Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)? We never realised until recently that he is about two decades elder to us, but still, he will always be our kid-brother. He played the grandchild to our eternal reel grandparents Ashok Kumar (Dadamoni), Durga Khote and Leela Mishra with perfection. His Anuraag (1972) and Hari Darshan (1972) are among our most favorite films. His bonding with Dadamoni in Anurag (1972) is so endearing and no matter how many times we see this film, tears just roll seeing Chandan slip away as his mother sings ‘Mera Raja Beta‘. He was deservingly awarded with President’s Award at the hands of then President V. V. Giri for his lovely performance in this film. He gave a wonderful performance as Bhakt Prahlad in Hari Darshan (1972). So many children have played Prahlad before and after him but whenever there is talk about Bhakt Prahlad, we can only visualise Satya singing ‘Jai Jai Narayan Narayan Hari Hari‘.
He continued to act in films as an adult and has done 50+ films in various languages. His Rajasthani film Mhari Pyari Chanana (1983) as a leading man was the first Rajasthani film to celebrate Silver Jubilee. He has featured in films like Arjun (1985), Khoon Bhari Maang (1988), Hathyar (1989), Shola Aur Shabnam (1992) as a dependable friend. In complete contrast, he appeared in a negative role in Dulaara (1994). Frankly we were quite shocked to see him in that avatar. It seems like he gave up acting after Zameer (1997). Though we wish he would come back to where he belongs best (onscreen), we hear he is currently working on his directorial debut. We wish him the very best for all his forthcoming ventures.
Master Vikas, another dear favorite. Thin, fair, light eyes and sharp features, he was an adorable child. For years we knew him as Babbu, his character’s name in Baseraa (1981). It took us really long to find his full name. His Basera (1981), Kaya Palat (1983) and Tele-Series Ek Do Teen Char (1985) are among his best works. We especially love him in Kaya Palat (1983). Playing the role of a scientist who becomes a ten year old boy by consuming a mixture he accidentally created, Vikas had to portray an adult in a child’s body through his body language, dialog delivery and facial expressions. He gave a convincing performance (according to us his best). His last film (as per our knowledge) was Ram-Avatar (1988). We always felt he will come back to acting when he grows up. In fact when Anubhav Sinha directed Sea Hawks (1998) was on air, for some reason we thought Leelawar Tendulkar was our grown up Vikas until we found his name. After searching for a long time we recently came across information that Vikas is probably not around. It was heartbreaking, we never expected our search to result in such news. May God bless you wherever you are Vikas, you will always stay in our hearts.
Master Ankur made a special place in our hearts with his portrayal as Stone Boy (1991) in the TV Series with the same name aired on DD in the early-90s. For a long time until we got to know his real name, Ankur was Stone Boy to us. A role he performed so well that today, even after 20 years his character is firmly etched in our memory. This is one series we really want to watch again. He was such a cute lively child, had one of the sweetest smiles, so adorable and so talented. He played the role of young Arjun in BR Chopra’s classic Mahabharat (1988). His interaction with Pitamah Bhishm (Mukesh Khanna) was a treat to watch. Apart from these we remember seeing him in the children’s film Netraheen Sakshi (1991) in the title role. As a blind boy and the only witness to a murder, Ankur performed his part with utmost sincerity. Years later we saw him in the title song of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (2000) after the first leap in 2002, but to our disappointment he never showed up in the show. We are not very aware of his current acting assignments but we know that today he is a very well-known Voice Over artist. If you are seeing a Dubbed, Animated or an Ad Film; you are most likely listening to Ankur’s voice in them. He dubs for actors in Hindi Films too. All we can say is that he has a lovely, lovely voice. We pray he does very well in life. Here is a collection of his Ad Films on his video channel.
Daisy Irani, one of the best Child Artists we have ever had. Big expressive eyes, bright smile, curly hair, chubby cheeks, she was a complete Tomboy. She started with the screen name Roop Kumar and mostly played a boy on screen. We saw her for the first time in the song “Jaago Mohan Pyare” from Jagte Raho (1956) aired during Chitrahar on DD. As the song starts, she opens the door and tells a very scared Raj Kapoor “darte ho? kyun? tumne to kuchh bhi nahin kiya“. We instantly liked this little girl. This was in the early 90s when the Tele-Series Dekh Bhai Dekh was on air. Few days later she made an entry into the show as the kanjoos Daisy Mausi. My mom told us that she is the same little girl we saw in the song few days back. It’s amazing how within days from an adorable little kid, she became a loving granny. Among her films as a child star we absolutely love her in Bandish (1955) and Ek Hi Rasta (1956). She was at her comic best in TV Shows like Dekh Bhai Dekh (1993) and Shararat (2004). We have seen very little of her as a young lady, only in Ankhen (1968) and Geet (1970). We would have loved to see more of her from those times but from one of her interviews it seems she mostly did regional films then. Today she continues to act in Films and TV Shows time to time. We wish her good health and lots of happiness.
For those who have grown up watching films of the 70s era will agree that Master Raju is an integral part of their childhood. Who can forget the little chubby-cheeked Sanju saying “K for Karna Hai” in Parichay (1972), the little chugalkhor brother of Nandu in Amar Prem (1971), the little boy who scolds Amitabh Bachchan (AB) in Abhimaan (1973) or Pintu Babu holding his grandfather’s stick in Bawarchi (1972). In all these films he is barely 5-years-old! Its amusing how this little fellow must have understood and enacted his parts, saying all those lines with expressions and not a bit camera conscious. We have read that there was a time in the 70s when virtually no film would be complete without this talented boy contributing his mite to it. Remember Piloo Mistry with his characteristic ‘hee hee hee‘ laughter in Khatta Meetha (1978), Bobby singing “Hoon To” to AB in the song “Main Pyasa Tum Sawan” from Faraar (1975) or his endearing acts in Daag (1973), Deewar (1975), Khushboo (1975), Dream Girl (1977), etc, the list is long.
Raju has won two coveted awards among others – the National Award for Best Child Artist in Chitchor (1976) where he followed Zarina Wahab to the most romantic of locations much to the discomfort of the film’s leading men and the Filmfare Award for Best Child Artist in Kitaab (1977) which definitely is his most special performance. Kitaab (1977) takes us through the experiences of a school boy, Babla who runs away from home because he feels no one understands him. Raju was absolutely fantastic throughout the film but there are two scenes where he has no dialogs, just expressions which show the maturity of this little performer. First is Babla’s moment of realisation when he hears people surrounding a dead beggar on a railway platform. Second is the last scene of the film when he hears the Blind Singer (with whom he had spent some time earlier) singing in a train pass by. The expression on Raju’s face is priceless. Woh Saat Din (1983) was possibly his last film as a child star. As a grownup we most likely saw him first in the TV Series Chunauti (1987) playing a drug-addict college student. We have very faint memories of that show now (it had our most favorite TV Series Title Track till date “Har Pal Jeevan Kaaaaa Ek Chunauti Hai” sung by Amit Kumar). He has continued working in TV Shows and Films all along till date. You are a forever special artist Raju, may God bless you with a Healthy, Happy and Fulfilling life.
Master Ravi, our original junior AB for the sheer number of films we have seen him play the childhood parts of AB – Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Desh Premee (1982), Shakti (1982), Coolie (1983), to name a few. Younger Brother of child star Master Rajesh (Rajesh Valecha), he started his career with Fakira (1976) and went on to do 300+ films in various languages. We possibly saw him for the first time in Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and could never forget the little kid uttering “Chhotu Tujhe Bhook Lagi Hai” in his sweet innocent voice. We absolutely love him in the films Tumhare Bina (1982) and Kaya Palat (1983) among others. However we believe that one of his best performances was in the film Shakti (1982). The most important scene of this father-son story is when little Vijay kidnapped by the goons overhears his father, a policeman saying that they can go ahead kill his son but he will not give-in to their demands. This instils bitterness in Vijay for his father and forms the crux of this story. Believing that his father does not care about him, he tries to escape from the goons. The expression in his eyes when he looks at Narang (played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda) who sees him hiding was absolutely brilliant. As an adult he was seen in TV Series Shanti (1994) and a guest role in Ye Meri Life Hai (2004). Today, he is Head of Hospitality and Facilities for one of India’s top Private Sector Banks. An MBA in Hospitality and International Business from NIM (Ahmedabad), he has had a multifaceted career spanning over two decades in the Hospitality Industry. He also grooms youngsters who want to be part of this Industry on Personality Development and Soft Skills for engaging with guests. We wish him the very best in life, good health and great success in his chosen field.
Syed Nazir Ali Rizvi
Syed Nazir Ali, better known as Rattan Kumar is one of the finest actors we have seen at that young age. He has been part of classics like Do Bigha Zamin (1953), Boot Polish (1954) and Jagriti (1954) among others. The first thing we instantly liked about him was his voice, loved the way he used to say his dialogs. Just see him perform in the scene before and during the song “Chalo Chalen Maa Sapanon Ke Gaaon Mein” from Jagriti (1954), he tugs at your heartstrings. Till date whenever we see this sequence (especially with our parents), tears just roll, the emotions are so real. Such understanding of characterisation and delivering with such amazing sensitivity at that tender age, this boy was a real talent. For us his performance is the highlight of Jagriti (1954) which is a brilliant film itself. How can we talk about Rattan Kumar and not talk about Boot Polish (1954). He and Baby Naaz were so brilliant in that film as siblings Bhola and Belu, their love for each other was so real. This story of their struggle for survival and social respectability is extremely touching, a must watch. In the mid-50s Rattan Kumar’s family migrated to Pakistan. He continued to work there as a child artist and went on to play leading roles. His first film as a leading man was Nagin (1959) when he was just 17. His last release was Dastaan (1969). From the information we have managed to gather, Rattan Kumar moved to Frankfurt, Germany in the mid-70s. There he took a course in Hotel Management from a famous Hospitality College. By early-80s he had moved to the United States with his family. There he continued his career as Food & Beverage Manager and later as General Manager in famous Hotel chains. Currently in his 70th year (he will turn 70 in August this year), Rattan Kumar lives in California. We wish him good health and a long happy life.
Tejan, the cute but naughty boy with a devil-may-care fast talk was one of the most visible faces on TV during the 90s. This fair skinned boy with light brown curly hair, sweet smile and twinkling eyes is one of the most expressive kids we have seen in Ad Films, one who could not be missed. The advertisement with which he made a permanent place in our memory was for BPL Home Appliances, a Home Alone spoof with a tag line “at home but not alone“. He became one of our favorite child stars in no time. What we loved the most were his expressions; we remember his Ad Film for Johnson & Johnson’s Band-Aid which featured only Tejan with two voice-overs playing his parents. Tejan mostly had to give expressions to the argument between the two voice-overs and he did a super job. That’s our favorite advertisement featuring him. Apart from numerous Ad Films, he appeared in the hugely popular Pehla Nasha Remix Music Video, a couple of episodic stories in shows like Rishtey (1998) and Star Bestsellers (1999) and had a brief stint in tele-series Zanjeerein (1999). He also hosted It’s My Show for about 26 Episodes where he interviewed celebrities. Time flies, it’s been over a decade since Tejan moved to the United States with his family. It does not seem so long maybe because his Ad Film for Action School Time Shoes was on air till a few years back. Currently enrolled in a Medical School, he will be graduating in 2013. Here’s wishing him the very best in life and great success in his chosen field.
Parzaan, the Jalebi Boy. Aww how adorable was he in his first TV Commercial for Dhara Oil. Annoyed with his family this little kid decides to leave home only to give up the idea when he finds that his mom has prepared jalebis for him. That was a classic advertisement; one which we feel should never have gone off air. A little later they came out with its part-2 where Parzaan played a boy whose little brother similarly wishes to leave home and he uses the same trick to change his mind. He then came as the cute little Sardar kid who made “tussi naa jaao” the most memorable line of the film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). He also enacted as the central character in the lovely episodic story Number Please of the series Rishtey (1998). Parzaan aptly played a six year boy who develops a deep bond of friendship with a telephone operator he never met in this story set in the British Raj. He later went on to do films like, Zubeidaa (2001) and the award-winning Parzania (2007) among others. His last release Sikandar came out in 2009. During his interviews then he had expressed his desire to take-up acting as a career. Currently away from limelight, he is concentrating on his studies. We wish our Jalebi Boy the very best and hope all his dreams come true.
Remember the little girl singing “daadi maa daadi maa, pyari pyari daadi maa, dekho zara idhar dekho, gussa chhodo daadi maa” to her angry Daadi (Shashikala) in Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (1988)? Popularly known as Baby Guddu, Shahinda Baig is the pony-tailed twinkling bright and charming child star of the 80s. We wonder how Daadi Maa managed to get angry with her. She is the cutest little princess we have ever seen on screen. Her innocent face and adorable smile made a special place in our hearts. We probably saw her first in the classic Colgate Toothpaste advertisement on Doordarshan. Her most prominent film role has to be from Samundar (1986). Playing the role of a little girl kidnapped by someone she called her ‘Dost‘ but unaware of why she is being kept away from her family, Guddu did a wonderful job and her chemistry with Sunny Deol was very endearing. Only she could have pulled off singing “achhe bacche zid nahin karte” to a Sunny Deol. Our favorite scene is the one where he faints due to bleeding. Guddu runs towards the sea to get water but the water slips through her fingers before she can reach him. She tries 2-3 times but all in vain. She then fills water in her mouth and spills it on his face to bring him back to consciousness. In films like Aakhir Kyon (1985) where she had a smaller part to play, her mere presence was enough to add to a mother’s suffering of being separated from such an adorable child. She was last seen on the big screen in Inspector Dhanush (1991). From what we have read, she is currently based in Dubai, working with Emirates Airlines. Here’s wishing her the very best in life.
When we decided to dedicate our next article to our loved child artists, we never thought it would be such a fulfilling experience. Though this post is more about our impressions of them, we tried to find as much information about each of them as possible, right from their real names, to their works, pictures, interviews and most importantly their current whereabouts. We realise that though they were kids, the job they did was no child’s play. They gave up on their study time, play time, to entertain us. There is a lot of sweat, hard work, injuries even abuse behind those innocent smiles and tears. Today all of them have grown up and are at a different age, a different stage of their lives. Some have moved on to newer things while some have continued being under the arc lights. We are fortunate to have got an opportunity to interact with some of them and express our admiration. We hope this post will intrigue some of you to go back and see the wonderful work done by these little performers.