Ronit Kamra is clearly enjoying all the attention he is receiving post-Jersey. The eight-year-old Punjabi boy who plays Nani, the son of the protagonist Arjun (played by Nani) had attended all the promotional programmes of Jersey. The cast and crew think he may seem shy, but is a chatterbox and full of masti when he gets to know people better.
The camera is not entirely new to Delhi-based Ronit. His mother Sonia encouraged him to take up modelling when he was only four years old. Having a maternal uncle who is into fashion photography made it easier. “In school, I actively participate in dance and sports,” he says as a matter of fact. He had worked for around 25 commercials when this opportunity to act in Jersey came knocking.
Though doing a South film was unexpected, they feel everything is moving in the right direction. It was “a magical moment” when they saw their son act like a trained artiste on the big screen, say his parents.
The name game
- In Jersey, child actor Ronit Kamra’s character name is Nani, while actor Nani plays the father character called Arjun. For a small portion that shows the grown-up son, Harish Kalyan appears in a cameo and his voice is by actor Nani. The interchange of names and identities is a tad reminiscent of Manam.
Ronit shares, “I missed school for 30 days when I worked in Hyderabad. My mother was with me throughout and sometimes my dad was with me in the shoot. Director Gautam told me what I was supposed to do. After seeing the film, the best compliment came from my parents, they said I was awesome. I loved all the cricket scenes and mostly the emotional scenes. The scene where Nani bhaiyya slaps me on the road is my favourite. I also like the scene when he screams at the railway station.” Ask him which actor he likes the most and he replies instantly, “Varun Dhawan, I watch all his films; my particular favourite is Judwaa 2, ” and adds, “I am beginning to love movies and I want to become an actor. I want to study and also act.”
Nani and Ronit on the sets of the film
Co-director Vinay who trained Ronit says the director specifically wanted a cute face with an element of vulnerability that could emotionally move the audiences. He shares, “The moment we saw Ronit’s pictures I got the confidence that we could manage. At the audition, we asked him many questions. He recited a dialogue from Judwaa and we okayed him. Once done, he asked, “Can I leave now?” We were stumped, he is so well mannered! Initially, he recorded a Telugu dialogue he had learnt and sent it to us from Delhi. We called him a week in advance and gave him the scene papers in English; just the scenes meant for him. He not only rehearsed and memorised his lines but he also knew where Nani’s and Sraddha Srinath’s dialogues begin and end.”
The mischievous kid would take the mike and disappear with the wireless sets. He kept everyone in such good humour, that every evening before leaving, Nani would wish him goodbye. Most of his scenes were shot at night and sometimes extend till 5 the next morning. Though the team would coax him to rest, he preferred hanging around. Vinay wraps up, “When we told him to be sad in some scenes, he would ask ‘full sad or little sad’? He was miffed once because he ended up being in Hyderabad during festivals too; he missed out on his birthday too. Though we celebrated it here, he gave us a mild warning: to arrange the shoot in Delhi, the next time!”
Now that he is back home, he skates or watches television. Ronit says, “I miss Hyderabad a lot.”