April 27, 2010 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
He's done innumerable films but shot to fame and became a household name in Pokiri as Ileana's brother gorging on upma all the time. "I like tamarind rice, I can't stand upma, ughh..," he grimaces as his make up man dabs some pancake over his cheeks. Bharat is a Tamilian and made his debut when he was just three and a half years in a Telugu serial Mathrudevatha for ETV. His first film however was Panchatantram in Tamil with Kamal Hassan and he bagged this project when AVM people saw him perform at a fancy dress competition in a school. Kamalsini his mother says that he never protested when they shaved his head partially and dressed him like Karunanidhi, He diligently learnt the dialogues in Tamil written by his father Balaji and they helped him modulate it. Even today he reels that lengthy dialogue with ease and perfection.
During shootings after lunch the four year old Bharat would get tired, he would ask the director for permission and would take a short nap with his water bottle by his side, once the shot is ready he would be up and be ready for the cameras. Now he is 14 years old and the youngest in his class, he's in the tenth standard in Asan Memorial. Most of the time Bharat is spotted playing with Play Station Portable or drawing sketches, making toys with M-seal.
His mother laments, "He's always been an obedient, calm child but this is one area we aren't able to do anything. He loves indoor games. My husband takes him out for a couple of days, and the third day he is summoned for shooting. I think it's time he takes sports seriously, we are aware of health issues."
Sreenu Vaitla has been casting Bharat in each one of his films except Andarivadu. "Bharat was a kid then, I have seen him grow up but this time I'm going to present him differently for the first time…as a teenager in this current film with Mahesh Babu. I'm very sure he's going to become a great comedian in the future says the director.
Veeru Potla who directed Bharat in Bindaas terms him a precocious child. He says, "He is neither naughty like a child or egoistic like an adult. Since he is on the heavier side I would ask him to relax after his shot is over but he would always stand and say parledhu uncle. His respect for elders and professionalism is intact. I was told that Kamal Hassan was stunned by his performance in Panchatantram."
The director recalls having going to Chennai to get his portion dubbed and being amazed at the boy's writing skills. He had written a moving poem in English on his grandfather who passed away around that time. He was so visibly upset as he was very attached to him but that didn't deter him from doing a chirpy comic scene perfectly.
The unit members vouch that Bharat would have been a fantastic and a spontaneous actor, would have grabbed attention even if he hadn't been obese that makes him look unique on screen. In his spare time on the sets the actor makes caricatures and interchanges their costumes, has his fun and keeps himself busy. If movie aficionados remember, the cartoons by Srihari who plays an aspiring artist in King, has all been done by Bharat. Veeru Potla treasures his sketch, framed and gifted by the kid. Despite having a low attendance he has been constantly getting high grades thanks to his liberal yet persuasive parents who make sure he enjoys his work and isn't over stressed.
Bharat eventually wants to become a doctor as his mother had told him that doctors are next to God. He is sure of not becoming a hero as they are required to do somersaults and risky fights. "Risk ante bhayam naaku", he quips.