Achieving success at an early age, Bollywood’s child stars all dreamt that they are here to stay. They assumed since they had got a head start and were one-up on others, their becoming Bollywood superstars was a given. The innocence of childhood, studies and other child-like activities were all sacrificed at the altar of stardom as they faced the dazzling spotlights and basked in the starry tinsel town glory.
Some melted hearts with their innocent looks, others wiser-beyond-their years, spouted profound dialogues. Yet others were an annoying over-acting bunch, breaking into songs in their squeaky, girlish voices.
But nothing in the film industry is permanent. Over the years, the actors gradually disappeared. Did Bollywood skies eclipse these shining child stars?
Playing a dyslexic child, Darsheel Safary with his mischievous eyes stole many a heart in Taare Zameen Par. He also swept away several awards and accolades. Having acted in Bum Bum Bole and Zokkomon, Darsheel is almost a forgotten face today. We last saw him as a participant in Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa and there is buzz he might act in a TV serial. At 17 he’s moved behind the lens, learning direction, scripting and editing, making short films for college projects, and studying commerce at HR College in Mumbai.
Her toothless grin, cute looks and impish fringe made Hansika Motwani the obvious choice for cute, little girl roles. With hits like Koi Mil Gaya behind her, she soon grew into a gorgeous babe and Himesh Reshammiya chose to cast her as the heroine in Aap ka Suroor. The wrong debut can ruin it all in Bollywood, as it did for Hansika. She wisely chose to move South and today is a hot number in Tamil and Telugu films.
Shweta Basu Prasad
She shone on the silver screen as an 11-year-old child star in Makdee. A National Award in her kitty and some interesting roles later, she simply vanished. She re-emerged in dubious circumstances when she was arrested by Hyderabad police. A local court later declared her not guilty in a prostitution case. Last heard, the actor was assisting filmmaker Anurag Kashyap in a short film he was making.
He played Masoom to the hilt with his innocent eyes, touching innumerable hearts. He was one of the most popular childstars, and with his good looks and light eyes he was considered perfect hero material. Ten years later, his debut as hero in Aa Gale Lag Ja flopped miserably. He continued to be visible in multi-starrers for a while and finally chose direction as his forte with Roadside Romeo but then vanished from the public eye.
If you are wondering which black hole the rest of the little shooting stars have fallen into, we bring you the truth…Chubby Master Raju
He melted hearts in Parichay with his large limpid eyes, graduated to character roles in films and was last seen in Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain. Raju Shreshtha spends more time working in TV serials.
She was the most popular choice in the ’70s for kids’ roles. Baby Guddu (Shahinda Baig) quit Bollywood and is now settled in Dubai.
He was the adorable and precocious kid in Amar Akbar Antony. Vikas Desai’s brush with stardom soon ended, but his love affair with the camera continued. He was associate director for Baghban, and is now associated with the TV channel, Colours.
Nayeem Saiyyad aka Junior Mehmood was the pocket edition of Bollywood’s best-known comedian Mehmood! At 8, his ability to mimic Mehmood and his buffoonery created ripples of laughter in every role he played. Today, he directs Marathi films and occasionally plays with an orchestra.
Master Alankar may have seen good times as a child star, but with no Bollywood breaks coming his way, he quit the industry. Today Alankar Joshi runs a global IT business.