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November 8, 2001

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New Kid on Bollywood's block

Rajitha

Suraj Balaje and SRK in Asoka In the disaster that was Asoka, one performer who walked away with universal accolades was the little kid who plays the exiled crown prince of Kalinga and Karriena Kapoor's younger brother.

'He acts,' said one reviewer, 'with the aplomb of a veteran.'

Well, the news is, he is. A veteran of sorts, that is.

Suraj Balaje, the moppet in question, is the grandson of producer-actor Balaje, famed in his time for the enormously successful remakes he came up with of Hindi films.

Balaje himself was an actor, specialising mostly in villainous roles, besides being one of the biggest producers of his time and the father-in-law of Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, who is married to Balaje's daughter Suchitra.

His father, Suresh Balaje, had appeared on television in Ganesh-Vasanth. The serial produced by Mani Rathnam stars wife (and Kamal Haasan's niece) Suhasini, alongside Suraj and Vijay Adiraj as the two detectives Ganesh and Vasanth. Suraj himself began as a child model, and then Asoka happened.

Suraj Balaje and SRK in Asoka Following his Asoka success, Suraj Balaje is scheduled to appear in two prestigious upcoming projects. He plays the child of Madhavan (recently seen on the Hindi marquee in Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein) in Mani Rathnam's upcoming project, Kannathil Mutham Ittaal.

And he also stars in an upcoming project being helmed by Appachan -- whose claim to fame is that he made the country's first 3-D project, My Dear Kuttichathan ( Chota Chetan, in Hindi).

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