Bollywood Baatein: Film stars and the kids

I don’t see any actor from the newest generation bonding with children except Kartik Aaryan

Kartik Aaryan
Kartik Aaryan

Subhash K Jha

It was said about Rajesh Khanna, the greatest biggest most spectacular superstar of Hindi cinema that men women and children from the age of 6 to 60 loved him.

The spectrum was actually much wider. I knew 4-year-olds who clapped their hands when Khanna, for whom the epithet ‘superstar’ was coined, waltzed on to the screen. I see the same kind of across-the-board acceptance for Kartik Aaryan.

The other day I saw a 3-year-old girl Amyra who is generally a very solemn child break into a giggle and a dance when she saw Kartik on screen dancing to some song called Coco Cola. Amyra’s mother sighed, “I think Kartik is Amyra’s first love. She laughs and dances every time she sees him on screen.”

Here let me hasten to clarify that ‘screen’ now means the home screen. When we said ‘screen’ during Rajesh Khanna’s era we meant the bada purdah from the era of lights camera and action.

I think children recognise genuine warmth on screen and in real life a lot better than us adults. I remember my daughter Lata was only 12 when she first met a female superstar who during those times, claimed… no, insisted, that she was a part of my family and that my daughter was her younger sister.

“I don’t need an elder sister, thank you,” Lata told me sternly. Luckily the female superstar was not in hearing distance. Come to think of it, that superstar, now married and lost in her own media-made bubble, is not a part of my life in any way now. But the point here, children have to love a star for him or her to be durable.

Another female superstar, this one with her roots in Great Britain acted so weirdly with my daughter and my niece and nephew, she immediately pissed them off. Firstly, this superstar ignored the kids throughout the conversation. Finally, when she spoke to them she said just one line. “Would you guys like some chocolate or something? I’ve some but they may have worms in them.”

Quite a ‘worm’-hearted encounter which my daughter never forgot and hated watching this superstar on-screen especially because at the end of our tortuous encounter the superstar went and plonked herself in the hero’s lap right in front of us.

If this is how you behave with children who have come to meet you, then lady, you don’t deserve your stardom.

Another actor who had a great connection with children was Sushant Singh Rajput. Once some close relatives of mine were in Mumbai and keen to meet him. Sushant made time for them. Took pictures with them, played the guitar for them, although they had reached Sushant’s beautiful residence late and he was getting late for his next appointment.

It is said that children are the closest to godliness. I don’t see any actor from the newest generation bonding with the bachchas except Kartik Aaryan.

(This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday.)

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