April 11,2009


Mumbai: After playing the ‘middle’ Jamal in “Slumdog Millionaire”, Tanay Cheda is set to star in “My Name Is Khan” in which his grownup version will be essayed by no less than Shah Rukh Khan.

But the 12-year-old boy who belongs to a business family is quite clear about one thing - he is not signing any more films as he wants to concentrate on studies.

“In Karan Johar’s ‘My Name Is Khan’, I play the childhood portions of Shah Rukh Khan’s role. It’s a small role and a very important film. And it will be shot during my holidays,” Cheda said.

“Except ‘My Name Is Khan’, my parents have decided to let me concentrate on my studies.” The young star feels he has had his share of fame and recognition, so after completing the film he won’t sign any more.

Tanay, who is shifting from his current school Campion in Colaba to the Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Bandra, has to sit for his elocution exams at Trinity College in London.

“But coping with studies is no problem. All my teachers have been very cooperative. Half of ‘Slumdog…’ was shot during my vacations,” Tanay said.

He played Darsheel Safari’s best friend in “Taare Zameen Par” and says Karan Johar decided to cast him as young Shah Rukh after watching the Oscar winning rags-to-riches drama.

He also added that he got the role of younger Jamal in “Slumdog Millionaire” by chance.

“I couldn’t go to the auditions. But eight months later they came to my school for auditions. By chance I got the role. They had to work a lot on my physical appearance to make me look compatible with Ayush, who played the youngest Jamal.

“They straightened my curly hair, etc. Also they had to darken all three who played Jamal (Ayush, Tanay and Dev Patel) to look like we were constantly exposed to the sun. My makeup used to take 90 minutes every day,” he said.

“Slumdog Millionaire” got critical acclaim and triumphed at all international festival, including the Oscars where it bagged eight golden statuettes.

“My family and friends are very proud of me. It feels really good. For my friends, I’m still the same Tanay,” he said.

He is also very thrilled by his visit to the Oscars ceremony. “I’m a movie freak. When I walked the red carpet I could recognize everyone who walked by,” he added.

Tanay says acting is a hobby.

“Right now I just want to enjoy my childhood. I’m passionate about football. And I love to write. I’ve lots of stories to tell. As far as movies are concerned, my next release is ‘Mustang Mama’ where Ruslaan Mumtaz and I play mama-bhanja. I know another ‘Slumdog…’ may not happen. But like my dialogue in the film goes, it’s all about destiny.”

He completely dismisses stories of replacing Darsheel in Anil Monga’s “Padduram”. “I don’t know where that came from. I haven’t said yes to any such film,” Tanay said.