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Jab Main Chota Bacha Tha

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    By: Gaurav Malani, IndiaFM
    Thursday, November 16, 2006
    We will introduce you to some such charming kids from Bollywood. Popular personalities whom you know quite well, but faces that you perhaps might not be able to identify at first glance. That's because we are talking of some such actors who started quite young. Started as child artists!

    We will introduce you to some such charming kids from Bollywood. Popular personalities whom you know quite well, but faces that you perhaps might not be able to identify at first glance. That's because we are talking of some such actors who started quite young. Started as child artists!

    Gaurav Malani articulates about some such artists who debuted in Bollywood with a 'Master' or a 'Baby' prefix to their names.

    Shashi Kapoor

    "Mere paas maa hain" - we all remember Shashi Kapoor mouthing this legendary line from Deewaar. That was in 1975. But much before that - and by that we mean 30 years back, Shashi Kapoor had made his acting debut at a tender age of 6 in Jayant Desai's Tabdir (1945). He continued working as a child artist in many mythological films (that were a regular in those times) like Bhakta Dhruva, Bhakta Gopalbhaiya, Bhakta Bilwamangal and Veer Babruwahan.

    But 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. As a child he also worked in 'Prithvi Theatre' - his father's theatre group.

    Neetu Singh

    Next from the Kapoor clan is Neetu Singh. But when she started as an actress she wasn't a member of the Kapoor family. She wasn't called Neetu Singh either in her debut film. Neetu Singh made her debut as 'Baby Sonia' at the age of 10 in the Mala Sinha - Biswajeet starrer Do Kaliyaan (1968).

    A remake of the classic Hollywood film The Parent Trap, Do Kaliyaan gave Baby Sonia the chance to play a double role in her first film itself. She got vast scope to display her acting abilities in the role of twin sisters of diverse sensibilities - as Ganga and Jamuna. And if you though this was an itsy-bitsy child artist cameo; NO she was the title actor of the film. You have to see her melt your heart with her warm performance. After 'Do Kaliyaan', 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).

    Rishi Kapoor

    The tryst of child artists with Kapoor khandaan continues with Rishi Kapoor. In 1970 Raj Kapoor wanted an actor to play his younger version in Mera Naam Joker. Obviously he couldn't cast his regular young counterpart - Shashi Kapoor as he was an established lead actor by 70s. But there wasn't any reason to worry as acting ran in the blood of Kapoors.

    So Raj Kapoor cast his second son Rishi Kapoor as the young Raj Kapoor in Mera Naam Joker (1970). The 18-year-old Rishi was quite plump then but it perfectly fitted the character. In one of the funny scenes from the film, he even has his pants torn during a PT class due to being an overweight boy. Rishi had sufficient footage in the film as he featured in the entire first chapter of the episodic film.

    But his USP in this film could have proved a setback to him when he would have made his debut in a leading role. So Rishi lost substantial weight and debuted as the young-and-energetic hero in Bobby (1973).

    Sanjay Dutt

    Yes, our very own Munnabhai faced the camera for the first time when he was just 12 years old. Sanjay Dutt was an item boy back then. In his father Sunil Dutt's film Reshma Aur Shera (1971), Sanjay Dutt danced in a qawalli song. And even as a child, his dance steps had the trademark Sanjay Dutt impact.

    Now you know he isn't called Sanju 'baba' for no reason.

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