If not well-directed, child actors can be rather irritating, Sanjoy Kapoor says

By Arundhuti Banerjee (IANS)

As the short film 'Friction' featuring Sanjay Kapoor and Shweta Kawaatra is released on YouTube -- the story revolves around a complicated relationship of a married couple with a child -- the actor says unless child actors are well-directed, instead of appearing cute, they can come across as "irritating".

In the short film, Sanjay has a couple of crucial scenes with the child actor Purab Mody. Directed by Sumit Suresh Kumar, the film is written and produced by Mandhir Sahni.

Sharing his experience of working with a child actor, Sanjay, who was recently seen in the web series 'The Last Hour', told IANS: "I would like to give the full credit to our director Sumit on this. You see, child actors need to be directed correctly so that they deliver their best performance. They are innocent, so extracting the performance is in the hands of the director.

"It is extremely difficult at times to make the child look loving rather than irritating. In Indian cinema, I have noticed that child actors are shown as 'too cute', blabbering lines in a certain way and trying to be over-the-top. But things have changed."

Citing an example from his earlier films, he said: "When we were making 'Mr India' I saw how Shekhar (Kapur, the director) made it happen. Those child actors came across as real, relatable. I still remember when I went to the theatre to watch the film 'Masoom'.

"Throughout the film, whenever those moments and close-up shots came on-screen, looking at Jugal Hansraj, the houseful audience reacted at once. ... Shekhar really knew how to direct child actors. It was the same with Sumit in our film 'Friction'."

The story is narrated from the viewpoint of a contemporary middle-aged couple, Rahul and Roski, and their 10-year-old son Rishi. A call from Roski sends Rahul on a whirlwind journey spanning the happenings in his past. What ensues, alters the three lives forever in ways that no one can fathom. In the end, Rahul is left to ponder over what he wishes would have been versus what has become.

Continuing his conversation with IANS, Sanjay said: "On one hand I found the story very relatable because in every couple, in every intimate emotional relationship, there is some friction. That is only natural. On the other hand, when it came to casting a child actor, he had to look like he was a part of the family. In our story, it is a family of Rahul, Roski and their son Ishan. Since the little one is looking like a part of the family, his presence and performance are so adorable."

(The film 'Friction' has been released on the YouTube channel of Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films.)

(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])