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Exclusive! Sarika: My childhood was stolen from me. Making a child act is akin to child labour

The actor, who will next be seen in the Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher-starrer Uunchai, opens up about being a child artiste

Exclusive! Sarika: My childhood was stolen from me. Making a child act is akin to child labour
  • Arundhuti Banerjee

Last Updated: 01.57 PM, Nov 04, 2022


Sarika was just 5-years-old when she first faced the camera for the first time in 1967 for the Hindi film Majhli Didi, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.That was followed with Hamraaz, for which she received a lot of love, and there has been no looking back since. Sarika has been an actor for over five decades, and ahead of the release of Uunchai, the National award-winning actress spoke to OTTplay about her journey, her take on child actors, and more. 

When asked about the positives and negatives of starting her professional acting career at a tender age, Sarika said, "I think that children should not be professional actors. It's not in their hands and childhood is stolen if a child has to work. A child should be free, happy and play around. It is a touchy topic for me, but according to me, making a child act is akin to child labour — a sophisticated form of child labour. I never went to school and did nothing else apart from acting. My childhood was stolen from me!"

However, the actor shared some pleasant memories as well from her childhood. "Having said that, instead of cribbing, I look at the brighter side of the situation. When other children were being sent to school to become somebody, I was running from one film studio to another, and getting trained under the best artistes in the business. As a child, I got the chance to work with icons like Meena Kumari, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, BR Chopra and Yash Chopra, among many others. Acting is so much a part of me now that there is no burn-out for me. Acting is my core; it is where I belong."

The actress, who is known for her performance in films like Geet Gaata Chal, Parzania, Hey Ram, Bheja Fry and Manorama Six Feet Under, added that at times, embracing everything that life offers allows an individual to grow.

"One cannot plan their life, that too at the age of 5. But everything that has happened to me as a child actor is a blessing. Even though I wanted to, I never attended school. But I learnt on the job as a child artiste, and was being paid for it too! I regard all the wise filmmakers that I have worked with as my teachers. Rarely does a child get a chance to learn from icons, and that is why my heart is filled with gratitude," Sarika added.

Sarika will be seen next in the film Uunchai, in which she is plays a middle-aged woman named Mala Trivedi. Directed by Sooraj Barjatya, the film also stars Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Neena Gupta and Parineeti Chopra. It is slated to release in theatres on November 11.