We revisit those stars who began young. With Kollywood making family dramas for aeons, child artistes have been aplenty but only a few made it big. Those few who charmed everyone as kids are now recognised as eminent personalities on the silver screen. Here’s a look at their transformation from their initial screen presence to current times.
A top actor in the Tamil industry, Vijay began as a child actor featuring in his father, SA Chandrasekhar’s films. He made his onscreen debut with Vetri and has even sung as a child artiste and adult. In Kollywood now, he goes by several sobriquets including Thala, Ilaiyathalapathy owing to his mass, larger-than-life image on screen. His last film was Mersal and he will next be seen in Sarkar.
She was known as Baby Shamili when she started out at the tender age of two. While she began at that age, it was her performance in Mani Ratnam’s Anjali that got her recognised and she continued to feature as a child artist till Kandukondain Kandukondain in 2000. As an adult, her career hasn’t exactly been thriving, with her starring in a handful of films when compared to her career as a child artist.
Manjima Mohan was a popular child artist in Malayalam cinema before she made waves in the Tamil industry years later. As a child, she featured in a variety of films and even won the coveted Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist at the age of 7 for her performance in Madhuranombarakattu. She made her onscreen debut as an adult in Oru Vadakkan Selfie and there’s been no looking back. Four films down and many more to go, including starring in the Malayalam remake of Queen, Manjima has had quite a promising transformation.
Actress Meena started off as a child artist in the Tamil film Nenjangal, playing a kidnapped child. While she featured in several other films, her most popular one was Enkeyo Ketta Kural where she played Rajinikanth’s daughter. Years later, she was paired multiple times with her former onscreen father in films such as Yejaman, Veera, etc. Currently, while she makes a few appearances in films nowadays, it’s her daughter, Nainika, who is a popular child artist now.
Coming from a rather intellectual family, Kamal took the unconventional route and started acting as a child. He made his debut in Kalathur Kannamma and featured in several other films over the years. His foray into cinema even as an adult was subsequent, with him appearing in films such as Apoorva Raagangal marking his coming-of-age. He has since been known as an actor, director, producer, lyricist, and singer.
Hansika was a popular face in various Hindi channels during mid-2000s. She starred in soap operas such as Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chaand, Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Shaka Laka Boom Boom, Son Pari, Karishma Ka Karishmaa, and a fun TV series only starring her in a double role called Hum 2 Hain Na. She played a child rape victim in Jaago, an intense role that earned her praises as a child. She also played Hrithik Roshan’s friend in Koi Mil Gayaa. The Telugu film Desamuduru was her first as a lead actress and starring Allu Arjun, who was still an upcoming hero at the time. The film even earned her a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut.
STR or Silambarasan or Simbu was a known child artiste in the 90s. He was known as the ‘Little Star’ owing to his performance in the film Samsara Sangeetham. He has since transformed as Kollywood’s “bad boy” or the “misunderstood” one and is known for being very emotional and vocal about various matters. He will next be seen in Mani Ratnam’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam.