Nov 14th is celebrated as Children’s day in remembrance of our first PM Javaharlal Nehru and his love for kids. Every Year on this day International film festival for children will also be celebrated and this time Hyderabad is hosting the festival for a week starting from Nov14th at Shilparamam. On this occasion let us have a look at the child actors who played monumental role in the success of films with their acting in tollywood. The moment one think of child artists everyone remembers kids who starred as Lava and Kusa in golden epic ‘Lava Kusa’. This is the first full color picture in telugu in 1963 and Master Nagaraju acted as Lava and Master Subramanyam as Kusa. The film started in 1958 but stopped inbetween due to some circumstances and was released in 1963. Due to this in some of the scenes in the film sometimes Lava,Kusa used to look young and old creating confusion but movie lovers dinot give much credence to those small issues due to amazing performance of the stars,gripping story,screenplay of the film. These two kids while doing ‘Lava Kusa’ acted in many other films. Prominent among them, the duo acted together in ‘Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam’ in 1960 where Nagaraju will be seen as Savitri’s brother while Subrahmanyam as Little Krishna. Nagaraju went on to act in Maha Kavi Kalidasu(1960),Babruvahana(1964). Next to Lavakusa, Bhakta Prahlada film gave good scope for performance for child artist.Baby Roja Ramani’s acting as Prahlada in 1967 casted a magic spell on viewers. One would be shivering at the thought of being garlanded with snakes but 5yrs old Roja Ramani used to roam in sets with snakes round her neck. Apart from that she used to complete scenes comprising of elopquent dialogues,literary language in single take stunning everyone. Great actor Padmabhushan ANR himself confessed that he watched Bhakta Prahlada movie twice to observe Roja Ramani’s lip movements for songs,poems. She went on to star in Great actress Sviri’s direction in Chinnari Papalu(1968),Ramalayam(1971),Sridevi(1970),Sattekalapu Satteyya(1969). Baby Padmini’s dual role in ‘Leta Manasulu’ in 1966 captivated everyone. The story revolves around her though many senior artists like Haranath,Jamuna,Relangai,G.Varalakshmi were present.The song ‘Pillalu Devudu Challani Vare’ is a evergreen hit. Harnath got the best actor award and Padmni stunned everyone questioning the then PM Indira Gandhi why he was given the award when entire story revolves around her in her cute little hindi. Indira Gandhi then ordered the award committee to see the film again and give the award to Padmini. Padmini went on to act in Sakuntala(1966) as Bharata,Ekaveera(1969),Kathanayakudu(1969). Baby Rani is another child artist who competed with stalwarts without any fear. Daughter of stunt master Sambasivarao acted at a young age of just 2yrs in ‘Sati Sakkubai’ in 1965 as Bala Krishna. She even starred in Matru Devata(1969),Adrushtavantulu(1969),Bangaru Panjaram(1969). AP’s handsome hero Shobhan Babu commented that she even took more renumeration than him for Bangaru Panjaram. Baby Rani won national award for best child actor for Papa Kosam(1968). Senior actress Pushpavalli’s son Master Babji accracted everyone with his round eyes,chubby cheeks,curly hair. He starred in ‘Chenchu Lakshmi(1958) as Prahlada, Little Krishna in Mayabazar(1957),Son of Nageswara Rao in Suvarna Sundari(1957) but sadly passed away at young age.His sister Bhau Rekha acted in ‘Rangula Ratnam(1967) as Vanishree at young age and became popular actress Rekha in bollywood. 1975 released Yasoda Krishna had three kids as little Krishna. They are Baby Dolly,Baby Rohini,Baby Sridevi while Master Prabhakar acted as Balarama. Baby Sridevi starred in Bala Bharatam(1972) as Dussala,’Meena’ 73 as little Vijaya Nirmala,Srimantudu 1971 as little Jamuna and in many other films. She starred as KrishnamRaju’s daughter in BadiPantulu(1972),Krishna’
s daughter in Pachchani Sansaram(1960),ANR’s daugher in Bhakta Tukaram(1973),Sobhanbabu’s daughter in Na Tammudu(1971), NTR’s grand daughter in (1972) and later went on to become their heroine. Master Prabhakar starred in Balaraju Kadha(1970),Bala Bharatam(1972),Baby Rhohini in Jivana TeeralU(1977),Baby Dolly Pavitra Bhandam(1971),Pandanti Kapuram(1972) did child roles in the films. BVIjayaNirmala who is the guinness record holder for high number of films directed by a female starred in Bhukailas(1958) as Sita,Panduranaga Mahatyam(1957) as Krishna. SHe actes as B.Sarojadevi’s sister in Dagudu Mutalu(1964).The film that featured most number of child artists is Bala Bharatam in 1972 where Master Prabhakar as Duryodhana,Sridevi as Dussala and many other children starred though lot of senior artists were present. Bhakta Dhruva Markandeya-1982,Ramayanam-1996,Balanandam-1954 bukked the trend with only child artists. Ramayanam featured Master NTR,Baby Smita Madhav as Sita,Baby Swati as Ravana and Master Arun Gangadhar as Hanuman. Bhakta Dhruva Markandeya was directed by versatile Bhanumati Ramakrishna with story,dialogues and music also being taken care by her. Papam Pasivadu in 1972 revolved only around a small boy lost in a desert. The film’s song ‘Amma Chudali,Ninnu Naannanu Chudali’ song still reverberates in ears. Master Ramu played the role in the film and he went on to act with Sivaji Ganesan’s foster son in "Jivana Tiralu’ in 1977,Bhakta Tukaram(1973),Pasi Hrudayalu(1973) etc. Ramu (1968) features Master RajKumar as dumb boy. Baby Brahmaji featured as a boy in Muga Nomu 1969 in which entire second half revolves around the role. She went on to act in Budhimantudu(1969),Prema Kanuka(1969),PremNagar(1971).Master Harikrishna starred in SriKrishnavataram(1970) and also in Talla Pellama(1971). Raju-Peda 0f 1954 features Master Sudhakar in dual role.Even now many child artists are acting in films but the falling standards of dialogue writing coupled with double meaning dialogues beyond their age are proving to be their hindrance in appealing to family viewers. One should remember Mahesh Babu and many others made their career as child artists and let us hope many more attractive films featuring child artists will come in future.