Sharada Iyer

Our film industry boasts of scores of child artistes who have entertained us with their stunning performances. In their hey-days, some of them were almost at par with the senior artistes as far as their talent and popularity were concerned eg., Junior Mehmood, Daisy Irani, Honey Irani, Master Sachin, Baby Tabassum, Baby Naaz, etc. 

Though most of the time, their role as a child was an integral part of the narrative and required them to remain a child for the full length of the movie like Boot Polish, Brahmachari, Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke, Andaz, Bajrangi Bhaijan, etc., many a time they got the opportunity to play the childhood role of big stars and their role was restricted to only the early part of the film like Master Alankar in Deewar, Master Mayur in Muqaddar ka Sikander, Baby Farida in Sangam, Bobby in Amar Prem, etc. 

However, most of them could not retain their stardom when they entered adulthood and faded away leaving behind a legacy of their performances only as a child artiste (Wonder child Bobby, Master Alankar, Master Satyajit, Master Raju, Master Bittoo, Baby Gowri, Baby Tabassum,Master Jugal Hansraj, etc.). Only some of them were fortunate enough to become popular stars as adult artistes as well like Neetu Singh, Madhubala, Shashi Kapoor, Meena Kumari, etc.

Interestingly, only a handful of these child artistes got to play the childhood role of big stars little knowing that one day they would become as popular or attain more popularity than these very stars whose junior version they had portrayed. In this blog-post, I present eleven such child artistes who  specifically played the junior role of big stars and later became famous as adult stars as well…



He played the role of young KISHORE KUMAR in the film Raagini (1958) and even had a song picturized on him. Later Vinod Mehra also attained popularity as a hero in the 70’s and 80’s and gave memorable performances in films like Anurodh, Amar Prem, Do Phool, Bemisaal, Khuddar, Amardeep, etc.



She played young NALINI JAYWANT in the film Sister/Bahen (1941) where Sheikh Mukhtar is her elder brother. Her acting is so natural and has almost 40 minutes of screen time which included a song picturized on her. As Baby Meena she had been a popular child artiste and later she went on to become one of the finest actresses of the Golden era of our industry. When she grew up, as a leading lady she eclipsed Nalini Jaywant both in histrionics and popularity…




She played the younger version of  VYJAYANTHIMALA  in Choti si Mulaqaat  (1967). She had a major role which covered the first half an hour of the film and she acts very well conveying the angst and innocence of a child who is rushed into a marriage and made a child-bride without her consent. In later years she made a mark as a popular heroine as well.



Started his career in films from the 1942 blockbuster Kismet in which he got to play the childhood version of the then big star ASHOK KUMAR. Later Mehmood went on to become our industry’s finest comedian and so popular was his persona that leading men of that time  felt insecure sharing screen space with him foe fear of being eclipsed by his extraordinary talent. He got the opportunity to act with the same Ashok Kumar in Do Phool where he played Ashok Kumar’s son.



This great star of our industry also started his career in films as a child artiste and played the younger version of elder brother RAJ KAPOOR (1949) in the super-hit Awara and the younger version of ASHOK KUMAR in the super-hit Sangram (1950). He was appreciated for his good looks as well as acting in these two diametrically opposite roles. While he was an innocent victim of abject poverty in the former, the latter had him portray a rich and pampered brat who takes to the path of crime and violence. Shashi Kapoor after his debut as a hero in Dharamputra became a successful star in his own right.


As a child star she was simply brilliant and got to play the younger version of SUCHITRA SEN in the 1955 version of Devdas and the younger role of VYJAYANTIMALA in the Dilip Kumar directed super-hit Ganga Jamuna. Later she graduated to playing heroine in small budget films but found more popularity in sister roles like the one in Sachcha Jhoota (1971). Sh also won laurels as a leading dubbing artiste of the industry and dubbed for Sridevi in her early films.




Another absolutely brilliant child artiste who started acting at the tender age of four, he got to play the younger version of DILIP KUMAR in Dastaan (1972) and Bairaag (1976). Incidentally in both the films he played double role. He made his debut as a hero in Geet Gaata Chal and became a popular actor in his own right and is remembered for his performances in Balika Badhu, Avatar, Satte Pe Satta, etc. Later  he shifted to the Marathi film industry and continues to make a major contribution even today. He has completed 50 years in the film industry, a feat not many can boast of…


She started acting at the age of four and as a child artiste acted as a boy as well as girl in films leaving an indelible mark in all her roles specially Satyakam, Hamraaz, Choti Bahu, etc. She acted as the junior version of NANDA in the 1969 family drama Beti.  As a heroine her debut film Geet Gaata Chal opposite Sachin was a super-hit and she went on to become a very fine actress and even won a National award.



He played the young RAJ KAPOOR in his father’s ambitious project- Mera Naam Joker. The film did not do well but the adolescent Rishi Kapoor was applauded for his acting and went on to win the coveted National Award for the Best Child artiste for the film. In 1974 he was launched as a hero in Bobby and he turned out to be the most talented of the ‘Kapoors’ and his glorious innings as an actor of repute continues unabated even today…



A gifted artiste both as a child and as an adult, she was considered a volcano of talent and could tackle any role effortlessly. She played the younger version of ZEENAT AMAN in –Satyam Shivam Sundaram and later on, played her younger sister in Insaaf Ka Tarazu. She endeared herself to one and all and won accolades for her acting in both these films. She went on to become a leading actress of her time.


aruna-irani-childIt is said that she was noticed by Dilip Kumar himself and given a break in his film Ganga Jamuna at the age of nine. The next year she acted as the junior version of MALA SINHA in Anpadh. Though she could not make it big as a leading lady she attained immense popularity as a character artiste and a dancer and was bestowed with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. She has also produced several successful television serials.

Here is a link to Part-I of the blog-post: (







  1. Yet another superb post!

    One child artiste I happen to know is Ayesha Kapur (of Black fame). However, I have no clue if she is planning a career in movies, being quite busy with her accessories business these days.

    Liked by 1 person

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