Meet a funny boy with an old soul


EVER heard the phrase, dy­na­mite comes in small pack­ages? If not, meet 10-year-old Vashir Kem­raj, a comedian, ac­tor and singer, who can best be de­scribed as a funny boy with an old soul.

He does stand-up com­edy, pre­sented on the com­mu­nity ra­dio sta­tion Hind­vani, fea­tured in a tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial and played De­san Kan­dasamy in the lo­cal hit movie Keeping Up With The Kan­dasamys.

Vashir, who en­joys read­ing about his­tory and ar­chi­tec­ture, may have set his sights on a ca­reer as an ar­chi­tect but he will never give up show­biz.

“I still want to en­ter­tain peo­ple and make them laugh. The best feel­ing is stand­ing on stage and look­ing at the smiles in the au­di­ence.

“Even if they don’t smile, I chal­lenge my­self to make them smile, and once they do, it makes the feel­ing I get ten times better,” said Vashir of Shall­cross.

The Grade 5 pupil, who en­joys nat­u­ral sci­ence, social sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics, is plan­ning to re­lease his first CD at the end of next month, and will per­form in the stage pro­duc­tion Bharath.

The six-track un­ti­tled CD will com­prise de­vo­tional mu­sic.

Bharath is about In­dian in­den­ture in South Africa and will be staged in Novem­ber to com­mem­o­rate their ar­rival in 1860.

Ac­cord­ing to his mother and man­ager, Vireka, his talent was recog­nised three years

ago. “I used to run a the­atre group, and be­fore I fell preg­nant with Vashir, I had six mis­car­riages. So out of fear, I closed the group but kept my scripts and stuff.

“One day, when Vashir was seven, I was look­ing through some of my per­sonal be­long­ings when he saw the script Bushknife Bula and asked me to read it to him. Later, while I was busy else­where in the house, I over­heard him talk­ing to him­self, and when I popped my head around the cor­ner to see what he was up to, he was act­ing out the script on his own. That’s when I knew.”

Vashir and her hus­band Vishen Kem­raj, who owns a mu­sic com­pany, en­cour­aged him to pur­sue his tal­ents, and soon there­after, he was do­ing stand-up com­edy at old age homes, in­clud­ing the Aryan Benev­o­lent Home and the Child­hood Can­cer Foun­da­tion South Africa, and went on to present the show Drameibaaz on Hind­vani once a month.

Other op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing fea­tur­ing in Jayan Mood­ley’s hit movie, fol­lowed.

Vashir said her son recorded his first sin­gle, Gone but Never For­got­ten, at age seven dur­ing a Sathya Sai Baba pro­gramme where di­rec­tor Mood­ley spot­ted him.

“I was shocked but ex­cited when I heard she wanted me to act in a movie and it was a fun ex­pe­ri­ence.

My friends were equally ex­cited,” Vashir said.

Though he plays the roles of Bushknife Bula, Fun­ny­lal and Nani and Nana at old age homes and lo­cal shows, he en­joys play­ing leg­endary Bol­ly­wood vet­eran, Amitabh Bachchan.

“I think his com­edy is amaz­ing and he’s an even better ac­tor. He is my favourite ac­tor, and if I could work with or along any­one, I would want it to be him.”

He is now work­ing on a skit for Youth Day at the Shri Vishnu Tem­ple.

Vashir Kem­raj as his al­ter egos Nani and Nana.

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