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'Work Vs School': Child Artists Get Candid About Their Lives on and Beyond Sets

(L to R) Child actors Aryan Prajapati, Zara Warsi, Vivaan Shah and Aditi Jaltare

(L to R) Child actors Aryan Prajapati, Zara Warsi, Vivaan Shah and Aditi Jaltare

TV's famous child actors open up on what inspired them to step into the acting profession at such a tender age and their lives beyond sets.

Is there anything impressive than watching a young gun steal away the limelight from a mature and trained actor? Certainly not! In fact, there is nothing that delights us more than watching the gentleness and innocence of a child gush forth on-screen, making a case for 'age is just a number'.

We got in touch with Aditi Jaltare (11) of Punyashlok Ahilya Bai, Zara Warsi (10) and Aryan Prajapati (13) of Happu Ki Ultan Paltan and Vivaan Shah (6.5) of Yeshu to pick their brains on how they view their profession and what drove them to take the plunge so early in their lives. They also get candid on their hobbies, inspirations and maintaining a sound work and education balance.

How long have you been acting now? How did you decide that acting was the profession for you at such a young age?

Zara: In 2018, I had a chance to play a cameo in a comedy show and that was my first experience of acting. It has now been around two years for me in this industry. When I was 4-5 years old, I saw my friends going to the dance academy and asked my mother to enroll me in. Later, in Lucknow, I participated in a competition and performed in front of Yogesh Tripathi and Saleem Zaidi. They praised me and encouraged me to pursue dance and acting further. That is how my career started.

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Vivaan: I have been in the acting profession since three years now. My elder sister, Zoya Shah, has done a number of reality shows and is in this field as well. I learned by watching her perform.

Aditi: I started acting when I was 7. My first role was as Sindhu in Marathi serial Sindhu (2019). It is my hobby and now I enjoy being a part of each and every scene.

Aryan: It has been three years since I started acting. I used to watch Rowdy Rathore and other TV serials, then mute the volume and speak dialogues out loud in front of a mirror. My mother saw this, liked it and pushed me to take auditions.

What do you like most about your character in your TV show? What challenges have you faced in doing the role?

Aditi: I personally like all the things about Ahilya Bai. Her personality, her thinking, her faith on Shiv Ji, her simplicity, her truthfulness and how she shows love for all. Nothing particularly posed as a challenge because from the very first day I easily merged with the character.

Zara: There is a huge difference between me and my character Chamchi. She is someone who snitches about everyone to her grandmother (Himani Shivpuri), while in real life, I am the exact opposite. It was a huge challenge for me initially but with a supportive cast, I have managed to bring out the essence well and enjoy essaying the role.

Aryan: The good thing is that my character in the show is almost like how I am in real life. Hritik is shown to be naughty and fun loving, and I am totally like that as well. Their lives are similar. So frankly, there was no challenge as such in taking up this role.

Vivaan: I love this role because Yeshu is of helping nature and even talks politely to people who are rude to him. He espouses the ideas of peace and compassion. But the challenging part is that I have to wear a wig as Yeshu, and during outdoor shoots it tends to get hot.

What hobbies do you indulge in your free time?

Zara: I love painting, art and craft, singing, mimicry and dancing.

Vivaan: I like playing outdoor games like cricket and badminton. I love dancing and handling the camera on set. The director and DoP are very nice to me and encourage me.

Aryan: I love playing badminton and cycling. I also like listening to rap music.

Aditi: Apart from acting, I love to dance. In school, I actively take part in science project activities and any craft-related work. I also love to travel and spend time with my family.

Is it difficult to maintain a proper balance between work and school?

Aryan: I always join shoots post 2 pm, which is after my school hours. I also carry my books on set. Whenever I feel a subject may pose problem for me or any lesson is difficult, I also study on shoot in whatever free time I get.

Vivaan: Currently, my classes are being conducted online. So whenever I am on the set and get free time, I attend my classes.

Aditi: It is certainly difficult to maintain balance between education and work. But my Mom makes it simple for me. She has taught me everything that I missed because of my shoot.

Zara: For me, education is of topmost priority and acting is my passion. I ensure that I attend all my classes, prep well and then start shooting.

Who inspires you in acting profession?

Aditi: My parents and my grandparents have inspired me to take up acting.

Aryan: Akshay Kumar inspired me initially because I loved his movie Rowdy Rathore. I like Ranveer Singh for his acting, Tiger Shroff for dancing and stunts and Hrithik Roshan's looks.

Zara: My biggest inspirations have been my mother and my mentor Saleem Zaidi who have always motivated me to stay focused and work hard.

Vivaan: My father, who is a Chartered Accountant, supports me in pursuing acting. He makes my audition tapes and sends them across to people. He also helps me out in performing.