As the temperature is soaring and the Government announces a strict janta curfew, PeepingMoon is bringing to you a fun series to relieve you of all stress. Clocking back in time, we got in touch with Bollywood's most successful child artists, who now, are either taking a break, exploring better opportunities, or have said goodbye to films to pursue a different career.
If you are a '90s baby, you must be understanding how special Karan Johar's debut film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was. It wasn't just a romantic drama but a 3-hour long journey that can't be described in simply one word. Though Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukerji breathed life into Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, one character added a certain degree of freshness and of course cuteness to the love triangle. The character was none other than the little 'silent Sardar' who would sit silently counting stars at a summer camp. Parzaan Dastur played the part with aplomb.
Though Parzaan, who was just 6 when he starred in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, had a brief role, he stole the show with his, "Tussi jaa rahe ho, tussi na jao" dialogue. Now, the actor is happily married and also owns a production house named Ten Colour Productions. Before Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Parzaan gained popularity as Dhara Cooking Oil's Jalebi boy. Though after starring in a few films, Parzaan went missing from showbiz. Before taking a break, he did projects like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) and Parzania (2007) to name a few.
PeepingMoon.com tracked down Parzaan for a heart-to-heart conversation. During the interview, Parzaan spoke to us about what he learnt from his co-stars Shah Rukh and Kajol and also shared some interesting anecdotes. In addition to this, the actor-producer opened up about the difficulties child artists face as adults. Not to forget, Parzaan also revealed the names of young actors who can fit into Shah Rukh, Kajol, Rani and his roles if Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had to be remade.
Excerpts from the interview:
As a child artist, what did you learn being on a film set?
As a child, I hardly got to learn anything. All I had to do was to have fun, be myself and listen to what the director said. I was having a good time and didn’t know much of what I was doing. I just knew that if I went for the shoot, a few days or weeks later, I would come on TV.
On a serious note, if I look back, I realised I learnt about a sense of professionalism very early in life. I knew how to behave in front of a professional. Till today, I like to keep my personal and professional life separate. That has definitely shaped me into who I am. The other thing that I learnt is the trick of the trade and how to perform in front of a camera. Today, if I want to continue pursuing my acting career, then it will definitely be something that will help me. Also, I learnt the nuances of filmmaking which really helped me when I later went on to become an assistant director on Student Of The Year (2012).
How did you bag the role in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai?
I had gained a fair bit of popularity as a child artist in advertisements. I had done a few ads like the Dhara Oil jalebi ad before Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and it really became famous. They called me for an audition based on that ad. They wanted to see if I made good expressions. The team was happy with it and took pictures of me in a pagdi to see how I look. That's how I got the role.
Share some memories with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol.
Shah Rukh Khan sir used to play carrom in his free time. My dad would join him. In between shots and in free time, he would very sweetly interact with me. It was on Kuch Kuch Hota Hai's set that I came to know that we share the same birth dates. For a 6-year-old, it was a very special moment.
Kajol was really sweet. She would go on morning walks and sometimes she would take me along. Looking back, she was just a 25-year-old girl when Kuch Kuch Hota Hai happened. We had some really sweet interactions.
What did you learn from Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol on Kuch Kuch Hota Hai?
I learnt a big lesson from Shah Rukh Khan which was humility. You will stand in front of him, talk to him and in 5 minutes, he’ll make you forget that he is a huge superstar. The humanity of the man comes out. It is a lesson that I would take to my grave. If he can be humble, then anyone can be. There is no reason for anyone to be arrogant about their success.
You worked with Karan Johar in the past. If given a chance, would you like to work with him again?
Definitely. I’m lucky to have worked with him in two different roles. One was being directed by him; I wish I remembered his instructions and the way he used to direct. Another one is as an assistant director on Student Of The Year (2012). I learnt how he is as a director. I understood what his vision is. I’m not completely there but I definitely understood how he visualises his work. I look forward to being on his sets again, maybe as an actor or a different role.
You were pretty active, rather on and off between 1998 to 2010. After that, you went missing from the big screen. Why?
I focused on my studies. Even after 2007, I hardly did any work. I was more focused on my college and was figuring out what I wanted to do with my life if I wanted to go back to films or not. I was just taking that time to decide. I finished college in 2012 and immediately joined Karan sir on Student Of The Year.
In 2017, you turned to production...
I’m actually continuing to do production now. I have started my own production house Ten Colour Productions along with my partner Nitesh Ranglani. Together we produce, write and direct for all sorts of digital films, music videos, corporate films and anything that can move on a screen. I am looking forward to writing our own content and working on our original content for the OTT platform or the big screen.
Were you offered typical roles after the success of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai?
I have to admit that I was offered quite a few typical roles, especially where I had to play a Sardar. I have done many similar ads because that character became popular. Everyone wanted to replicate it. Today, as I follow advertising better, I understand why that is the case.
But, I have to also admit that they weren’t restricted to that. I have been fortunate for getting varied roles in films even though they were small. I played children from different communities, religions, backgrounds; poor-rich-middle class etc.
Child actors who shot to fame at a tender age find it difficult to make it big in Bollywood as adults. Is it because of high expectations?
I don’t think you can put it down to one thing. There are various things that can give you success. Sometimes you don’t have anyone guiding you. You end up making the wrong decision because you don't know what to do, what to work on. Some people say you should build your body, some say work on your acting. You are confused. You are trying to find what is your niche, especially as an actor. You are trying to find your own skin and the skins you would like to take up. It is a complicated procedure. I feel that there are many young actors of the ‘90s who are doing very well today and are fairly popular in the digital space. I think for an actor if you are true to what you perform, the medium doesn’t matter.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t get the kind of success I wanted in films but I have done very few ads and very few digital sketches as an adult. I had a great time and they were also varied. They weren’t like the jalebi ad or counting stars etc. It’s been varied, it's been fun. I would love to do more.
Tussi jaa rahe ho.. dialogue is meme material now. Did you ever think the simple dialogue will become so famous?
That was a complete masterstroke on Karan sir’s part. He was the one who wrote the dialogue, envisioned the part, the sequence, the scene and brought out the emotions of what Kajol character was facing at that time. I admire him for writing that part in the film because today as a writer, if I had written the scene, I wouldn’t have written that character and give him the dialogue. I’m grateful that he had that thought and he clearly knew what he was doing. He knew how to grasp the emotions of the audience and he used me as a tool for that. I’m so glad that I could be a part of that magic.
How did you meet your real-life Anjali aka your wife Delna Shroff. Was it a Shah Rukh Khan style proposal?
I met Delna in college way back in 2007 but we weren’t close friends. We were just acquaintances for 10 years. Later, in a very filmy style, we met at an event, started talking, then the friendship grew and we started dating. It wasn't a very high funda filmy style proposal but it was something that Delna really liked. It was a very sweet proposal on the beach of Alibaug.
If the film had to be remade, which new actors can fit the bill?
After seeing Ananya Panday in Pati Patni Aur Woh, I feel she will do well in Rani Mukerji’s role. Kartik Aaryan can do justice to Shah Rukh Khan’s Rahul. I loved his jodi with Kriti Sanon in Luka Chuppi. She can fit into Kajol’s part.
I feel Akshat Singh, the dancer who performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, can do my role easily. Now, he has grown up but when he was young, he was very cute.
(Interviews from the series will be published every Wednesday only on PeepingMoon.com)