East Ham schoolboy to feature in Bollywood movie Mental Hai Kya

PUBLISHED: 13:00 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:11 05 March 2019

Haider Ali, 11, who has appeared in a Bollywood film. Picture: KEN MEARS

Haider Ali, 11, who has appeared in a Bollywood film. Picture: KEN MEARS


An 11-year-old boy who dreams of being a star is a step closer after featuring in a Bollywood film.

Haider Ali from East Ham was a huge fan of Indian movies before ending up in one after being spotted by the makers of the forthcoming comedy Mental Hai Kya, or Are you Mental?

“It was amazing. I had never done anything like it before. I hope it will be the first of many,” the New City Primary School pupil said.

“My mum feels proud which makes me even happier.”

The young Juventus and Manchester United fan didn’t even have to audition for his part with the film’s producers casting him after seeing his picture at the modelling agency Haider belongs to.

After an interview in which he impressed the casting director with his confidence his journey towards possible movie stardom began.

In the black comedy crime thriller directed by Prakash Kovelamudi – whose 2004 film Bommalata scooped a national film award – Haider plays the part of a schoolboy trapped in a fire at a library with a couple of friends.

For the scene shot between May and June last year the eldest of four had to have makeup applied to make him look injured and perform surrounded by fire – though thankfully not the real thing.

“It was in front of a green screen. It was great. I had three scenes in the library. Then another on a bridge with the actress holding our hands,” Haider said.

On sharing the screen with Bollywood stars including Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao, Haider said: “It was amazing to work with them.

“I would like to do it again. I want to be an actor in the future.”

But Haider, who plays football for his school team and enjoys playing computer games in his spare time, is no stranger to being the centre of attention.

In 2016 he took part in a campaign for the children’s charity Barnardo’s and walked the catwalk at a children’s international fashion show just last month.

But he’s keeping his film role a secret from most of his friends.

“I haven’t told anyone apart from a few of them. I would like to keep it as a surprise,” Haider said.

The film is due to come out on May 3.

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