Art & Entertainment

‘First Act’ On Amazon Prime Video Review: A Hard-Hitting Docu-Series That Raises Some Poignant Issues

Amazon Prime Video is here with another docu-series ‘First Act’ which delves into the back stories of child artists. Is the show worth your time? Or can you simply skip it? Read the full review to find out.


‘First Act’

‘First Act’: Cast & Crew

Direction: Deepa Bhatia

Cast: Mukesh Chhabra, Darsheel Safary, Shoojit Sircar, Sarika Thakur, Jugal Hansraj, Hetal Gada, Honey Trehan, Tess Joseph, Saloni Daini, Adrija Sinha, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Parzaan Dastur, Ekta Methai, Amit Behl, Ronnish Maini, Aayudh Bhanushali, Om Kanojiya, Khalid Akhtar, Baburao Laad Saheb, Akbar Ali Ansari, Yuvraj Shastri, Nidhi Shastri, Anmol Malik, Manisha Methri, Krinsha Solanki, Narayan Pundlik Lad, Tvisha Solanki, Jiya Sharma, Abhay Shah, Rachit Trehan, Amole Gupte, Payash Jain, Dilip Gulati

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

Duration: 6 Episodes, Around 30 Minutes Each

‘First Act’: Story

First Act’ chronicles the journey of child actors and their parents into the Hindi film and TV industry. It takes a searing look at the dark, twisted and painful world of child actors. Through interviews with older child actors, parents, casting directors and filmmakers, the series explores the ecosystem within which children must perform and the challenges they face to achieve the family dream. Will the children be able to fulfil the dreams of their parents? Will the children have to go through unnecessary pressures? Will their parents forget that they’re just kids and not a money-making machine? Well, for all that, you’ll have to watch ‘First Act’.


‘First Act’: Performances

The docu-series brings forth some of the most genuine interviews on camera. No one’s acting and they’re all just speaking their hearts out, and therefore the reality of the situation hits you even harder.

‘First Act’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

Deepa Bhatia’s writing and direction try to focus on a genuine problem that most Indians living in smaller towns think of – What happens to kids on reality shows after they win? Also, where do filmmakers get such small kids to start their acting career so early when kids their age in smaller towns are slogging their asses to study and pass the exams? Well, Deepa Bhatia sheds light on some realistic issues but the way some of the issues have been discussed aren’t up to the mark. The parent’s tales should have been different from that of the kids, which could have given a much better insight into what goes on behind closed doors.


While the show begins on a high note, somewhere down the middle of it, it loses focus and ends up providing almost zero solution of how to rectify or address the issue. Another issue that doesn’t hit home is the duration in which the docuseries has been shot. It seems to have been shot over many years. Because of this, there are quite a few statements made which don’t feel appropriate. There are child artists who say they’re struggling to get work, but some of them have already got some compelling projects under their belt in today’s time.

A very good fact check has been brought to light by the docuseries and that’s around the aspects of a child artist’s life that’s staged for camera on reality shows. Not many people are aware that the back stories that are usually told in reality shows are slightly exaggerated to bring in the necessary effect for the audiences. Deepa Bhatia’s docuseries sheds light on many such aspects beautifully.

Prathamesh Rangole’s cinematography gives such a raw and rugged feel to the docuseries that you feel as if you’re the one sitting on the sofa and giving the interview. You feel like it’s your kid who’s being talked about. You feel like you’re the one responsible for the child’s overall upbringing. Getting that level of clarity in the shots is hard to achieve and making you, as an audience, feel involved in the storyline is even harder. Prathmesh Rangole skilfully manages to get the right balance of both.

The editing by Abhishek Gupta and Snigdha P. Roy is also crisp and to the point. While there could have been numerous such stories and cases and the series could have easily been dragged to 10 episodes, but Abhishek Gupta and Snigdha P. Roy’s sharp restrain on the chopping board made sure that you got the cream of the interviews and things got wrapped up in just 6 episodes.


If there is one thing that’s not up to the mark, it’s Amaal Mallik’s music. While he tries to create the pathos necessary for a serious docuseries like this, he misses the mark by a bit as some of the background music tends to become too jarring eventually making you question the necessity of having it altogether. Rather, a softer and much more sober background score could have brought out the perfect feel and depth of the rather poignant situation at hand.

‘First Act’: Can Kids Watch It?


Outlook’s Verdict

‘First Act’ definitely brings out some topics that are hard to discuss, but had to be said at some point. At one point in the show, it’s said that we have disclaimers for animal welfare at the start of a film, but don’t have anything for children welfare. That sums up the entire issue at hand. While there are children who are able to make the most of their childhood days as child artists, but there are many as well who can’t handle the instant stardom and get into a world of hardships. Deep Bhatia has very beautifully managed to bring that out in the docuseries. If you’re someone who has a penchant for documentaries and docu-series, this is definitely a decent One Time Watch. I am going with 3 stars.