Crown The Brown: Parzaan Dastur
Crown The Brown: Parzaan Dastur. We all know the iconic line “Tussi Jaa Rahe Ho, Tussi Na Jao” from the iconic movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The little sardar kid that stole everyone’s hearts in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham has certainly been doing more than counting stars over the years!
Parzaan Dastur was one Bollywood child star that many loved watching on the big screen and in advertisements. Many wondered what happened to him over the years. Parzaan fueled his passion for the film industry over the years into his writing, production skills and more. We were so curious to know more about his journey, Parzaan decided to share his story with us!
Parzaan, how would you describe your work as an actor?
I would describe myself as a learner, I have always been one. There is so much opportunity for growth and I enjoy learning new things. I am always eager when it comes to making a difference.
I came into the industry completely unaware as a young child and I really enjoyed the experience. As I grew up, I realized whether it is acting, directing or singing or anything else cinema or media orientated. I just hope that I would do something worth making a difference. That’s essentially what I would want to do.
When did you start getting into acting and what encouraged it?
When I was very young, about 3 or 4 years old, I would attend my aunt’s speech and drama classes. She would make us say poems and extracts from books. We were even sent for exams held by Trinity College London in Mumbai. I was part of the group of students that she taught.
One day, she got a call from a production house, they were making an advert and they required young children in the advert. They wanted young children to do a voice over for adults. It was a very innovative ad at the time. Old adults talking like young children, so they needed voice actors.
My aunt put me on the list with other students in the class. I went there to the production house, the director really enjoyed my work and appreciated my craft. He kept me in mind for future projects after that.
Eventually, I got the role for a vegetable oil brand advert. It became very popular in India. People still remember me because of that advert. It was a beautiful advert with a heart touching story.
That advertisement enabled me to start working on many projects and more adverts as a child. It resulted in me landing the role as the little kid in the movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and K3G.
What was it like growing up with such fame from such iconic movies? How did you deal with that fame at such a young age?
My parents played a big role in my upbringing. They made sure that my childhood was like any other child. My parents wanted my childhood to be as normal as possible.
Today, when I interact with my friends, I can relate with them because we all had similar childhoods. We can all relate to one another because of my upbringing. My childhood was not out of the blue in that sense. I had amazing experiences being on set as a child and it has shaped me as a person for sure. I was able to understand a level of professionalism much earlier than other children my age. It helped me become more mature for my age.
As for my upbringing, I have to say my parents really kept me grounded and made the experience positive for me in the industry. I know that we always hear stories of a lot of child actors, who lose their way in the industry but I am fortunate to have had the family that I have to avoid that. I am so thankful to my parents and friends, who made sure that I was in a good space and never allowed anything negative to happen.
What were some of your most memorable moments being in the industry?
There were so many memorable moments because of the people I worked with and the people I was surrounded by growing up. I got to share a screen with so many big Bollywood names at the time such as Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. I had such a memorable moment interacting with Shah Rukh, we both came to realize we share the same birthday. As a 6 year old, that was something so special to me! I got to be directed by the talented Karan Johar.
Getting to interact with a lot of young and talented people over the years really was memorable. Being on the receiving end of a lot of attention and appreciation from fans as well, is so memorable.
“What is even more memorable is how iconic the movies became worldwide. It is amazing how many people know about the movies.”
One memorable moment for me was when I went to Bali with friends and got recognized when I walked into the grocery store. The cashier looked at me and said “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”. I found it so surprising to be recognized outside of India. I usually get recognized in other places in the world but by Indians, so it was surprising to be recognized by an Indonesian in Bali. It was a great moment, especially after so many years! It was unbelievable. I really appreciated the love.
I also remember working on the movie Mohabbatein, which was directed by Aditya Chopra. They were so gracious and invited myself and my family for a prayer service before shooting for the film. I was so fortunate to sit next to the Legend, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan.
He was so sweet and he had seen my work. I remember him looking at me and he said “I’m your biggest fan.” It was such a big moment for me and my dad because my dad’s favourite film is Sholay, so he was a big fan of Mr. Bachchan. My dad took the opportunity to return the compliment by saying what a big fan he is of Mr Bachchan. It was a sweet moment for me and my family.
Another was being able to shoot in the States and take my family with me. Which was a beautiful trip and I am forever grateful for those memories.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced as a child star in the industry?
I have experienced a few challenges. Managing my studies as a child in the industry was difficult. My parents made sure that I knew my priorities. They made sure that I focused on my education. I had to turn down many roles in films and ads because they would clash with exams or school work.
There were also times where I had been mobbed by fans and it has been scary sometimes. There were times where we would be stuck in certain places while shooting and having to figure out school schedules and being on set at times. My parents experienced most of the challenges trying to figure out my schedule, finding family members to accompany me on shoots. It was a lot of pressure.
You are also a writer and producer, tell us more about your work as a writer?
After finishing my studies. I wanted to pursue work in film making, so I decided that being an assistant director is the best thing to do since it gives you an aspect of filming. I became an assistant Director and Mr Karan Johar took me under his wing for his film Student of the Year.
It allowed me to get a sneak peak of things behind the camera and how things function, how a film is written and how a script looks. I learned so much about film making. It really inspired the writer in me to create more stories that can relate to an audience.
I started writing my own synopsis and scripts after that. Years later, I stopped working as an assistant director and I wanted to pursue different avenues including acting again. So I kept on writing whether it was on short films or more, just started penning it all down.
Eventually, I spoke to an old friend (Nitesh) that worked with me and he wanted to read my work. He really enjoyed my ideas and we worked together to create something for mother’s day.
We created a 6 minute long film. He directed the film, I wrote it and acted in it. The film did fairly well on youtube. We received great feedback. We even got a sponsor and it was the start of creating more and knowing that people enjoyed my work and what I was doing.
That project enabled us to do more continuous projects, which led to us completing 80 projects to date and working as a team on a production company.
You are the co-founder of Ten Colour Productions. Tell us more about your company. What inspired your love for production as well?
Ten Colour Productions (TCP) has been running for approximately 3 years now. We make digital films and are working towards feature films in the future. We create digital content for brands, short films, music videos, animation and more. Our ultimate goal is to try to make a difference
What inspired me is having the freedom of doing what you want to do. It fuels your passion because you have the freedom to do as you please.
Being an assistant director is a great learning experience but at the end of the day, you are trying to bring someone else’s vision to life instead of your own. The freedom to bring your own vision forward and shed some light on it, is what really drives me. To see your own work come to life is a great experience and that is what fuels us and pushes us to do more.
Would you ever consider acting again and if so, what genre of movies would you want to be featured in? Who would you want to work with?
I am still open to the idea of acting. In the last few years, I have done a few acting gigs and ads. I don’t have a particular genre, I enjoy most of it with the experience that I have in the field. Every role is different and there is always something new to learn and take away from that role, co-actors and directors.
I love having to be on both sides of the camera. When I am on one side, the knowledge of the other side always helps. Sometimes when directors are explaining something to me, I can understand what he is talking about because I can relate because of my work.
I would love to be directed by Chris Nolan someday. I really love his work! The list goes on, I have so many people I would love to work with in the future.
What advice do you have for others wanting to work in the film industry?
What I have noticed over the years with young people is that they tend to get very impatient with what they are doing. They start finding differences in what they are doing and what they really want to do. They always think that changing what they do will help them get there faster. I learnt that the hard way as well.
I learned that sticking to what you do for a longer period of time is eventually going to get you to where you want to be. The clock resets if you switch what you’re doing all the time but it keeps going if you are just patient with what you are doing.
I left my job as an assistant director after 3 years but I feel like if I had just kept going for 5 years, I could have learned so much more! It is always about timing.
Be sure of the path that you want to take. Don’t be afraid of sharing your work because of the fear that people might not like what you have to offer. Share it with those you trust, that have the same vision. Don’t be afraid of trying something new or putting an idea into action.
Parzaan is one child star that truly turned his dreams into reality. He has used his experience to create something bigger with the support of his family and friends. His passion for the industry enabled him to create an entire vision for himself and make a difference in the industry. What an amazing achievement. Be sure to follow Parzaan‘s journey on social media @parzaan.dastur and check out his production site https://tencolourproductions.com .