‘Chottu’ and ‘Pari’ speak up

Krrish Chhabria and Hetal Gada. Photo: K.V.S. Giri   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

Everywhere we go, we are called Chottu and Pari and not by our real names. Even my friends call me Pari,” laughs Hetal Gada. The class VIII student of St. Xavier’s, Mumbai, is Pari, the 10-year-old who travels across Rajasthan with her eight-year-old blind brother in tow, to meet Shah Rukh Khan in Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak, releasing on June 17. Pari promises that Chottu will be able to see before he turns nine.

Hetal and Krrish Chhabria are not strangers to the audio-visual medium. “I have been in this industry for eight years,” Hetal proudly declares, telling us about the television soaps she was a part of. “I too have done four films. But this is our first one as the lead,” Krrish Chhabria guffaws. When we chat up with Hetal on managing school and shooting, Krrish chips in with mock anger, “You don’t know in which school I am studying?” They say in unison “Shrimati Ramdevi Sobhraj Bajaj Arya Vidya Mandir” and add the locality as well.

The two were chosen after auditions and remember how they reeled out lines from the script, which had them declaring their allegiance to Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. In the film, Hetal is a diehard Shah Rukh fan and Krrish is a Salman fan. “I love Shah Rukh,” Hetal gushes and Krrish declares, “I used to be his fan, now I like Salman sir.” The two have met Salman and are kicked that he had good things to say about them. They won’t say if they met Shah Rukh, for, it would give away the ending of Dhanak.

Krrish and Hetal shot with the crew over a month in scorching heat of Rajasthan and say quite innocently that they didn’t get worked up about the heat because they simply didn’t think of it. Krrish got a number of chocolates for enacting his scenes well and Hetal says she learnt to underplay her emotions. “My acting had become so loud and bad after television. So sir (Nagesh) would tell me let’s do some natural acting,” she says. They had a two-month workshop prior to filming. “Within three days we became friends with everybody,” says Krrish.

The two young actors are “bored” after being constantly asked about their experience of working in the film but add soon enough, “We are really excited, because it’s our big film.” They tell us how they learnt their lines and Nagesh made sure they would spend an hour a day catching up on their school lessons. “You know, I even visited a blind school and met the children there to know how they walk, talk and behave. I was so tensed thinking how I will act,” says Krrish. Hetal pipes in, “Notice that stress when he says ‘tenssssion’.”

Hetal wants to grow up and “become an actress like Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor” and Krrish wants to become a superstar “like Salman and Shah Rukh.” Krrish wants to grow up quickly so that people don’t call him ‘Chottu’ and says he loves to read. “I have read 15,000 books,” he says with a straight face. Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter are his favourites but he has also read The Life of Pi. We do a double take and the class V student says with all seriousness, “Yes, I read the book.”

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 3:16:29 PM |

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