Deepa Bhatia on keeping the layers partially concealed
Deepa Bhatia, who has edited the film, Hawaa Hawaai, says as always her job was to bring out the director’s vision from the material. “And Amole is pretty clear about what he wants. In his screenplay, you will find minute details like where he would like to have the sound of flute in the background. We didn’t want to milk the emotions for popular appeal. For us, integrity is the key.” She qualifies it with the example of the coach in the film not realising that Arjun is not getting sufficient diet.
“It is something that the upper middle class takes for granted. We don’t even think about it but the film doesn’t overemphasise on it and let the audience feel it. Similarly, the fact that Arjun is a little different from other kids is subtly explained through his upbringing. He gets surprised when his friends call their father baap and not pitaji,” she elaborates.
Deepa agrees that Stanley Ka Dabba and Hawaa Hawaai have a sparsely feel in comparison to Taare Zameen Par, which kept on underlining what it was trying to do.
“I edited all three but when a star comes into the film, the integrity does get compromised a bit. In the original script, the film was supposed to end when Ishan wins the competition; he runs into greens and there are some imaginary hurdles in the ground which he jumps but in the final cut he runs into the arms of Aamir Khan. The layman may not have noticed it but the educators working with kids found it problematic because in a way we are again making the child dependent.” But, Deepa adds, the film did more than it is expected of a film. “It brought change in the curriculum and the examination system at the primary level.”
Repetition breeds irritation
If you are looking for a child actor in your film, casting director Mukesh Chhabra should be on top of your dialling list. Chhabra impressed the trade when he cast a bunch of livewire kids in Chillar Party. The film became a sleeper hit without any known face and Chhabra’s demand soared. Recently, his yet another find created waves as Parth Bhalerao captured the imagination of the audience in Bhootnath Returns. He not only entertained with his uninhibited performance but also outwitted Amitabh Bachchan in many scenes.
“The trick with casting child actors is to look for a fresh face every time. I believe, a child actor is good as long as he doesn’t know that he is acting. Generally, because of the lazy attitude or the producer’s pressure to milk the success of the child, filmmakers start repeating the same two-three kids again and again and the child is reduced to a showpiece, who keeps repeating himself or herself,” says Chhabra, who has a vast network of talent spotters across the country.
“I noticed Parth in a small role in Marathi film Killa. The challenge was to stand up to Mr. Bachchan but he was not at all overawed.” He advises that if a child actor wants to pursue acting as an adult he should take a break, complete his education and then return.
Succesful child actors
Sonia/ Neetu Singh
Those who couldn't