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.