ACTING AS A CAREER IN BOLLYWOOD -12 : SAMAR JAI SINGH
Every time I work with young actors (kids) I realize “IT IS PARENTS AND SOCIETY WHICH ENCOURAGES THEM TO REMAIN KIDS LONG AFTER THEY SHOULD. IF TRAINED WELL THEY WOULD GIVE ADULTS A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY”
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH A CHILD ACTOR – ANAPPEAL
In November 1996 I was shooting for national award winning film “SUNDARI” at the Simplipal National Park about 300 kms away from Bhubaneshwar. The film was produced by NFDC and directed by National award winner Gulbahar Singh.
There was this 5years old kid named Amay, He was a Maharastrian fellow, who could barely speak Hindi. What amazed me was the adaptability he had. The way he was functioning would make any seasoned actor ponder and contemplate. The assistant (AD) would brief the scene to Amays mom, who would explain him the scene.The A.D would tell him the words to speak, and that amazing little chap without a blink of eyes or a drop of thought, feeling those words from the core or his heart would deliver them. There were no reasons to doubt that this little one was a prodigy.
March 2004, I doing a Balaji Show called “Kayamat” for sony. I met Amay on the sets, on my first day of shoot. I asked his mother where was Amay for so long. She told he was busy doing lots of shows and T.V Commercials. I could sense that the parent was taking a lot of pride in the number of days the boy is shooting for and the amount of money he is getting home. I was little concerned about the talented boy.
When I shot with him, I was shocked to see that Amay had transformed. He became absolutely mechanical, was just uttering his lines was coming across as a very tiered and hamm clone to of Shah Rukh Khan. My heart sank for the gifted youngster, whose talent was ruined by parental greed.
Many a times, when I see parents on the sets with these little kids putting a lot of pressure on them to mug the lines, it hurts. This is not the way to handle these delicate minds, they are sensitive, they are vulnerable, they are fragile. They possess a tremendous range of expressions. ‘PLEASE DON’T USE THESE LITTLE ACTORS AS SOURCE OF EXTRA INCOME”.
My First Experience in Training Children.
In January 2010 I got a call from Contiloe pictures, they were co-producing a show named “Shobha Somnath Ki” for Zee TV. It was a historical based on the invasions of Mohamad Ghaznavi. Mr.Vikas Kapoor was the other co-producer. I was asked by the executive producer to come to their office, first thought I had was, that the show being a historical, they must have considered me for some part., which I was not interested in. To my surprise I was given this offer to groom eight little kids aged 4 to 12 years for the show. I was taken a back, was very hesitant, but then accepted it as a challenge. What I got into was an experience of life time. To begin with, they addressed me “Uncle”, it took me few hours and some simple observation exercises to get them to call me “sir” and by the time the workshop got over they were calling me by my name “Samar”.
Best part about these little actors is that they never get bored, though their attention span is short, they might divert from the task, but what ever they do, there is a lots of enthusiasm in it.
A child’s second nature is being playful, and when you are playing you are enjoying , and you are never bored. So obviously you are doing what you are doing with lots of interest. That’s a secret for “engrossing performance”, “ TAKE INTEREST IN WHAT YOU DO AN THE AUDIENCE WILL TAKE INTEREST IN YOU”.
A remarkable quality I noticed in kids is the range of expressions they have. They are so expressive with their voice, effortlessly they change their pitch and modulate their voice so naturally. Just orient them correctly and they would deliver their dialogues as if those words were their own.
After “Shobha Somnath Ki”, I was hired to groom child actor Ali for Star Plus Show “Gulaal”. Ali was 11 years old when he came to me. He had already done film “Partner” with Salman Khan and Govinda. When he came to me he had a tendency to mug up line by rote and speak them. It just took me a little explaining and he understood “to think and feel before delivering”.
Master Chef Junior Australia was very well received by the audience there. Star Plus planned Master Chef junior India, I was on board, and it was an eye opener to see those little fellows cook so well and communicate brilliantly.
Honestly speaking, when I sit back and think about my interaction with kids as a trainer, I realize it is me who has been enriched and benefited with their association.
It is “we adults who want them to be kids for long after they should or else we want them to become mature sooner, my request just let them BE” .
NOTE FOR PARENTS :
Please don’t try to fulfill your ambitions and your Shortcomings through your kids. Don’t burden their fragile being with your desires. Don’t compare them with others, make them comfortable with, who they are, so that they accept themselves and do not live in denial.
SAMAR JAI SINGH.
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