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Little magician, little wishes...



Suraj Balajee with Puja Kumar and Trilok Malik who play his parents in the film.

HE MAY be doing wonders in "Chota Jadugar" but he certainly is not the one who enjoys being in films, doing tricky roles. Ten-year-old Suraj Balajee is not very comfortable with flashing camera and scribes jotting down notes. We catch up with him half-heartedly giving interviews at New Delhi's The Park Hotel.

His attention is diverted towards the television showing an action film. But he takes no time in answering any question that comes his way. "Is this Atal Behari Vajpayee's home?" he asks pointing towards a tall building he sees through the window. His dimpled cheeks and fair, pink complexion enhance the innocent look.

Talk to him about his debut film Santosh Sivan's "Asoka" and the latest "Chota Jadugar", he shows no excitement. Ask him about his friends, school, favourite food, game and girls, he has so much to share. "I love pizzas, Pepsi and bhelpuri, yum yum yum," he says licking his fingers and drinking Pepsi with his thumb.

"Tell him it is not good food if he wants to grow tall and healthy," mother Usha chips in.

"I want to be as tall as... " Suraj tries to stretch his hand as high as possible."My father has brought me many pull-ups for that. He asks me to play volleyball. But you know why I don't play volleyball? Because it does not have air!"

He is now in a completely playful mood. "Does he like shooting, working in films? "No, I hate it. So in between shots when they are getting the lights ready I run away to play with my friends." And he also takes his textbooks to the sets if he has to study.

How many friends does he have? He counts on his fingers and shouts, "Fifteen, but Justin is my best friend. He is very nice and caring." Justin is the other boy in "Chota Jadugar." He lives in New York. He taught him skating. Suraj is thrilled for he is going there for holidays. "I will stay with him for one-and-half-week, won't I mother?" he seeks permission from his mother.

Suraj, now a student of Class V at Lady Andal School, Chennai, is proud that he is moving to Class VI. ``It is best to study in a boys' school," he declares. ``I don't like co-ed schools. Girls are nagging and complaining. They are just teachers' pets. So I have no girl friends," he proclaims.

Has he thought about his career? "I want to be a formula-one racer. It is very interesting and adventurous. Or, I will become an industrialist, will make and sell laptops." He is an ardent fan of Russell Crowe and Julia Roberts but loves Shah Rukh Khan. "I was nervous on the sets of `Asoka' but Shah Rukh helped me a lot."

Has he seen "Chota Jadugar"?

"Seven times".

How does he like himself in it? "I can't judge myself. But I would like to do roles of a normal kid. In this film, costumes were heavy, glittering and full length." The kid has done 70 ad films — LG, Kinley, Parle, and many more. "I prefer ad films to feature films." Doesn't it affect its studies? "Yes, I miss classes."

Suraj's mother wants him to work more for "his face may change soon and he may not be get as many offers as he does now."

RANA A. SIDDIQUI

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