Tellytown’s young & restless
The small screen is brimming with fresh lease of talent. The new prime time heartthrobs — Sara Khan (18), Sukriti Kandpal (20), Jay Soni (23, Naveena Bole (25), Anjali Abrol (18), Pooja Bose (18), Neil Bhatt (21), Aastha Chaudhury (20), Additi Gupta (19), Harshad Chopra (25) or Vinny Arora (17) et al —are a bunch of mint-fresh youngsters next-door who have grabbed eyeballs and leads in major shows. Lucrative pay cheques, fan mail and fame has become a part of their daily lives even as they sometimes balance college/school and television.
Sara Khan, of Sapna Babul Ka Bidaai appears satisfied with her career. “I always wanted to act and am glad that I am playing a lead character.” Is acting just a means to rake in extra bucks for her? “Acting isn’t a part time job at all. There are times when we work 24 hours a day,” says Sara. Are her parents happy to see their daughter struggling at such a tender age? “My father was a little hesitant when I joined this industry at 16. Today he is proud of me,” adds Sara.
All of 20, Sukirti Kandpal from Dill Mill Gayye says, “I joined this industry at 19. My youth hasn’t made it difficult for me to work. I think I am lucky, because by the time I turn 24, I can vie for lead roles in films, since I would have honed up my acting skills. Being young has many advantages.” So for how long does she plan to act? “I want to act for four-five years. Then I’d like to get married. I also plan to open a chain of spas and NGOs,” continues Sukriti.
Added to the fame is a hefty pay package (Rs 12,000 -15,0000 per day) that these actors are offered. Vinny Arora, 17, who acts in Aathvaan Vachan reveals, “My parents still take care of my finances and I get a pocket money as I used to. I am very happy that way.” Vinny knows “how to strike a balance between her studies and work” as she regularly goes to college. Actor, Jay Soni from Remote Control and Baali Umar Ko Salaam admits that he became an actor just for fun but with the response he’s got he’s now serious about acting. “I joined this profession because it gives quick pocket money. Now I know that it also needs lot of hard work. I have become very grounded,” he shares.
For some, being on television may be all about money, but for the rest it is fame and the heady addiction of being in front of the camera. Says Naveena Bole from Miley Jab Hum Tum, it isn’t just money but fame that counts. “I have wanted to act for a very long time, but my father didn’t approve of it. While working at a call centre, I made my own portfolio and approached for work. Somehow I convinced my father that I wouldn’t do anything on screen that would embarrass him. Today I can’t quit acting, it is very addictive,” admits Naveena. So what according to her is the right age to join this industry? “I feel 20 is the right age to enter any profession as one can take correct decisions,” she avers.
On the other hand, Saurabh Pandey of Jiya Jale fame says, “I have been very artistic from the beginning — painting, dancing, sculpture making and acting have been my passion. I started acting at 17, but I knew how to manage myself. I love acting. I am here for a long haul, as I hope to get in to films,” says this 20 year old who’s doing a new show Angad.
Money, fame and adulation can be a heady mix for young actors. And as long as they are able to deliver TRP-topping performances and grab eyeballs, life’s one roller-coaster ride for them.