The next shooting schedule involved Asha, the child star of the south. Madhu had to play her mother’s role. Asha was “Chubby cheeks, dimpled chin, curly hair” all the beauty of a little girl was in her. She was accompanied by her father, though they resembled each other, in their expressions, her features were different.Asha was pampered by everyone on the sets, a little moon beam. Her father counted money, all the time. He seemed to know the cost of everything, what would happen to a child being told, the cost of her dress, her ribbons, her juices, her toothbrush, all through the day wondered Madhu. As though he costed the extra food her mother ate while she was in the womb, her very existence was expenditure. He never seemed to tell her what she earned.

Madhu was shocked by the precocity of the child exposed to the glitzy world. She only pretended to be a child, wise beyond her years. A child had learnt to pretend to be a child. The scenes where she bonds with her grand mother Padmini were shot, her father taught her every dialogue, each gesture. Madhu recalled the resentment she had felt as a child when her mother wanted to exhibit her  “ Do that action song dear you do it so well”  To keep doing this  tirelessly all through the day, with that pressure, another two or three years then she will be in an awkward age she can’t act then. So he had to make that money now.

Adithya’s gang was very friendly with the child. Asha’s Dad was polite because it was their first film, he had no clue how big they may turn out after the release, so he had to be safely courteous; nothing about that man was spontaneous. Madhu asked “What happens to Asha’s education?” Her father said “She has private tutors” Madhu persisted “What about friends?” Father wanted to slap her, she could see it in those tense masseters “I am her best friend”.Asha could not talk about any topic, she had no opinions of her own, and she only obeyed adult commands and played her childish role. Somewhat like the pet parrot in a cage that repeats whatever you say being constantly praised for its cleverness of imitation.

 

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