Child artiste Sara tells us about her brush with fame and why films are close to her heart
Eight-year-old Sara Arjun hates chocolates. And cake. And pastries. Things that girls her age thrive on. But then, Sara is a child artiste and on the way to becoming an actress. Even as kids her age are busy watching them on television and in the theatres.
Hailing from a family of actors — her dad Arjun is into films too — it was but natural that she took to films too. Once a few of her ads, for leading brands, started appearing on TV, they caught the eye of filmmakers too.
Down South, they caught director Vijay’s eye and he cast her as Vikram’s daughter in his 2011 flick, Deiva Thirumagal. Even at that time, she was considered a natural by insiders in the industry and a child who actually understood how things like camera and lighting work.
Today, with the director’s Saivam readying for release, she has taken on the lead role. “I call him Vijay mama now,” she says fondly, “It was great to work with him yet again and all those wonderful actors in the film. It was a challenge because the character was a rural Tamil girl and I’m growing up in urban Mumbai.”
In between studies and extra-curricular activities like gymnastics and skating, Sara also takes time off to understand and learn the character she’d play in any film. “As I’ve done a few Tamil films, I have picked up a few lines of the language already. I can already ask for water and milk on the set. Konjam konjam teriyum,” she says excitedly.
Having worked with the likes of Sundararajan (Nila Choru) and Meera Kathiravan (Vizhithiru), she seems to have got a better grip on her craft. In what aspects has she grown as a performer from then to now? “These days, I ask director uncle doubts about why I have to do what he tells me to. I ask a lot of questions now; earlier, I would just follow instructions. By quizzing the crew, I get to understand my character a little better. Until I know the meaning of what I’m speaking on-screen, I don’t deliver my dialogues. My co-stars help me a lot too.”
There was a particular instance while shooting her last Tamil film, in sweltering Karaikudi, which her dad remembers quite vividly. He says, “There was a scene in which she runs along with actor Nasser, who plays her grandfather. She outruns him and then looks behind, to realise that he has a lot of catching up to do. At that time, the director wanted her to look sympathetically at him. Explaining this to her was quite difficult and this is where her co-stars’ help came to the rescue.” Considering she is already a much sought-after star, will he push her to filmdom in a big way immediately? “Oh no, we want to take it easy and go slow. We have to remember that she’s still just a kid and has to learn a lot of things.”
Sara’s favourite movie stars keep changing — if it was Aishwarya Rai Bachchan last year, it is Kangana Ranaut and Deepika Padukone now. “I watched Queen and loved it. I want to become like them someday.”
But that can wait. For now, her friends are calling her for a game of hide and seek. “Can I go, uncle,” she asks timidly. And off she vanishes, reminding us that she is just an eight-year-old child and nothing more.