Child Artists have always been a very potential, upcoming as well as an essential sector in any kind of Cinema. Bollywood too has been home to many child artist, some who have made it big as successful stars later, while some have just faded away from the minds of people.
In early days, stereotyped child artists in Indian movies would be fair, chubby, light eyed kids with a beaming smile and innocent faces. Well known actress, Sarika, of the ‘Parzania’ fame, has acted in 60 movies as a male child artist, and was known as Baby Sooraj, when the credits of the films were displayed.
Times have changed where once a child artists had to go through grueling working hours, missing out schools, tiresome screen takes and re-takes and paid less compared to other actors. However, unlike its counter part, Hollywood has had cases where exposure to the media, hype and early involvements with drugs to cope with work pressure have been part of the likes of famous child artists-turned-superstars, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Macaulay Culkin and Lindsay Lohan.
Famous Child artists who made it big
1. Shashi Kapoor
The handsome member of the Kapoor clan started his debut as a child artist in the movie Tabdir(1945). He went on to act in 30 other films as a child artist. His most noted performances as a child actor are in films like Aag (1948) and Awara (1951) where he played the role of Raj Kapoor’s younger counterpart. Later on, he went on to become a famous actor with movies like Deewar, Namak Khalal, Jab Jab Phool Khile and Aamne Saamne.
2. Neetu Singh
The effervescent actress first acted in the movie Do Kaliyan (1968) and was introduced with the name Baby Sonia. She continued as a child artist in films like Waris (1969) and Pavitra Paapi (1970) until she made her debut as an elder actress in Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973). Then there was no stopping for this bubbly punjabi girl who went on to star in her noted movies like Amar Akbar Anthony, Rafoo Chakkar and Khel Khel Main.
3. Padmini Kolhapuri
As a child artist, Padmini Kolhapure has acted in many movies like Ek Khilari Bawan Pattey, Dream Girl, Zindagi, Saajan Bina Suhagan and Thodi Si Bewafai. But her most noted roles include Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Insaaf Ka Tarazu and Gahrayee. She became famous later as she got plenty of opporunities to act with legends like Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor and Dilip Kumar. Some of her famous movies are Woh Saat Din, Prem Rog and Ishq Ishq Ishq
4. Aamir Khan
Who can forget the cute little Aamir Khan is Yaadon ki Baarat as the youngest brother Tariq and the song and dance where he raises his little finger to indicate nature’s call. Aamir also acted as a child artist in Madhosh (1974). And now, the Mr. Perfectionist is one of the leading stars of Bollywood. Truely, the most successful child-artist-turned actor in the industry.
5. Urmila Matondkar
As per the trends back then, in Urmila Matondkar’s first movie Kalyug (1980), she acted as a boy. She also played son to Rekha’s and Raj Babbar’s starrer, Parikshit. Her most famous movie as a child artist was in Masoom (1983). She shot to limelight with her movie ‘Rangeela’ which was the time Bollywood took notice of this sexy girl and she has given a huge range of movies like Pyar tune kya kiya, Bhoot, Jungle, Pinjar, Satya and Ek Hasina Thi.
6. Aftab Shivdasni
He played the younger role of two of the best Indian actors – Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan. Aftab started with Mr. India (1987). Subsequently he did many films like Shahenshah, ChaalBaaz, Awwal Number, C.I.D. and Insaniyat before making his grown up debut in Ram Gopal Varma’s Mast. His other movies are Kasoor, Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai, Ankahee, Red: The Dark Side.
7. Jugal Hansraj
Hansraj started his career as a child artist in the film along side Urmila Matondakar in Masoom (1983). That film was a the biggest hit for Hansraj till date. Later on, he continued his career as a child artist in several films like Karma (1986) and Sultanat (1986). He also appeared on the ‘Nutramul’ advertisements. Though he has acted in films in his later life, he hasn’t been able to deliver any hits. His movies are Aa Gale Lag ja, Pappa Kehte Hai, Mohabbatein and minor roles in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Salaam Namaste. He has turned director in movie Roadside Romeo.
Movies like Chillar Party and Stanley ka Dabba keep motivating young talents across the nation.