How often have you come out of a movie hall feeling overwhelmed by the performance of a cuddly, sometimes cute, sometimes cocky less than 4 feet tall actor? Occasionally, right? Here’s a list comprising of young actors who moved, touched and impressed us more than their adult co-stars in last ten years.

Partho Gupte – Hawa Hawaai

Partho plays Arjun, a fatherless young kid, who works at a chai stall to help mommy run the household. His ultimate dream is to become a skating champion, an aspiration he discovers after getting a job as the chai delivery boy. That’s the story of Hawai Hawaai. It’s particularly interesting to note that Arjun isn’t the naughty type, who wins hearts with witty lines. It’s his innocence, maturity and earnestness that brought alive the character. There were scenes in the movie when the equally talented Saqib Saleem lacked the integrity as the passionate coach. Young Gupte never flinched in making us empathise with Arjun. Interestingly, Partho had made an equally powerful debut as the bright and ingenuous Stanley from Stanley Ka Dabba too.


Parth Bhalerao – Bhoothnath Returns

Bhootnath Returns isn’t exactly a kiddie movie, it’s a plot that has a powerful and prominent child character. The film unfolds the antics of a ghost (Amitabh Bachchan) and his nutty young friend (Parth Bhalerao). Unlike many cutesy onscreen bachchas, Akhrot is cocky and confident. His uber cool demeanour, taporigiri and proficiency to match up the superstar’s acting competence made him endearing to watch. Interestingly, Parth got noticed in Marathi film Khalti Doka Varti Paay, which was screened at Cannes Film Festival in 2013.


The Chaddi buddies – Chillar Party

Chillar Party is Hindi cinema’s Little Rascals. It is about a bunch of middle-class bachchas – fondly called chillar party with each one having a ubiquitous name like Encyclopedia, Shaolin, Jhangiya – and their attempt to save their new friend’s stray dog, Bhidu, from a corrupt politician. The film was like Parle’s Krackjack, sweet (‘coz of the kids) and, slightly, salty (‘coz of the contrived story) but pleasant, nevertheless. While there are a few characters like Phatka, an urchin who washes cars to survive, and Jhangiya, a kid who doesn’t wear underwear, with more engaging parts and dialogues, its Chillar Party’s collective performance and camaraderie that was the highlight of the film.


Swini Khara – Cheeni Kum

Cheeni Kum isn’t a children’s film, it’s a grown-up prem kahani between Amitabh Bachchan and Tabu. Yet, 9-year-old cancer patient, Sexy, managed to stand tall next to her towering superstar co-actor. Yes, she isn’t like any real or reel kid. Sexy doled out love advice to her neighbour-cum-celebrated chef. You either hated her or liked her, but Swini Khara’s cocksureness ensured you couldn’t ignore her. Personally, it was delightful to watch the repartee between the unusual buddies.

Swini Khara


Darsheel Safary – Taare Zameen Par

Taare Zameen Par, is a tale about a dyslexic 8-year-old Ishaan Awasthi. More than entertaining, this was an enlightening story about a serious children’s issue and parents’ obsession to compare kids. Given the sensitivity of the subject, every actor performed well and was, almost, natural. But Darsheel Safary’s flawless interpretation of Ishaan forced out all the choked up emotions from inside while watching the film. In fact, the young actor makes even acting ace Aamir look pale next to him.

 darsheel safary (5)

Shreya – The Blue Umbrella

Vishal Bhardwaj’s on-screen adaptation of Ruskin Bond’s ‘The Blue Umbrella’ is one of the finest recent children’s films (veering towards fairy tale-ish) in Hindi cinema. The National Award-winning picture is about a conniving shopkeeper’s obsession with a young girl’s newest possession – a bright blue umbrella. First-timer Shreya Sharma as the young girl, Biniya, is convincing. The maturity and the dramatic showdowns enliven the cunning yet cute girl.



Ayesha Kapur – Black

Black revolves around a deaf, mute and dumb girl who transforms into a fine young lady with her tutor’s help and hard work. Ten-year-old Ayesha Kapur plays the younger version of female character in the script. Unlike typical deaf, dumb and mute enactments on Hindi screens, little Michelle McNally is subtle, sensitive and absolute perfection.

 ayesha kapoor

– By Rachana Parekh


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