New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) Spending more than eight hours on a set, learning tough dialogues and attaining overnight recognition in a glamorous industry - one might wonder if child actors are missing out on their childhood. But far from complaining, they seem to be enjoying every bit of it.
Darsheel Safary, Purab Bhandare, Shriya Sharma, Swini Khare and Zain Khan are some of the dynamic and confident child actors who are ruling the roost at present. They work almost as hard as their older counterparts, but they are not complaining. They say that they thoroughly enjoy the kind of life they are leading.
"I don't miss anything at all while leading the life of a child actor. In fact, I feel I live a better life. My friends play among themselves, but I play with stars. I play with my co-actors," Avika Gor, who plays Anandi in popular TV soap "Balika Vadhu", told IANS.
However, 10-year-old Swini Khare has a different take.
"I don't miss being on the other side of the table because I still feel like a normal person. I do everything that I used to do earlier. I play, go out, and study," she said.
Swini has done various movies and more than 50 advertisements, but her claim to fame was her role in Amitabh Bachchan-starrer "Cheeni Kum".
At an age when other children are just concerned about their studies, these child actors are juggling school and shooting schedules. They say that balancing the two is not as difficult as it seems.
"I don't have any difficulty in handling school and shooting together. I know how to strike a balance. I take my books to the sets and study in between shots," said Avinash Mukherjee of "Balika Vadhu" fame.
Added Zain Khan, who was seen in "Hari Puttar": "I won't say that it is extremely hard to cope with studies and shooting schedules. It's just that you don't have time to while away and I'm perfectly fine with that.
"It's in your hands not letting your studies get affected."
Child actors get recognition and fame at a very young age and it can have a negative impact on the impressionable minds, say experts.
Samir Parikh, chief of the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Max Healthcare, said parents play the most important role in ensuring and providing guidance to children so that they are not harmed by the kind of exposure they get.
"By ensuring that basic life is not affected, not being extra special in behaviour, no comparisons and more so by making sure that normal life, schooling, friends are maintained, parents can prevent any kind of harm to their child," Parikh told IANS.
Child actors feel that even though they have to multi-task, they enjoy the special attention they get from people around them.
While Avinash feels proud that he is often called as a judge for programmes in his own school, Swini is amused at how her classmates fight to sit next to her.
While these kids have no qualms living life in the fast lane and enjoying every bit of their newly achieved stardom, it is essential for their parents to understand how far they should be allowed to go in the quest of achieving success.