13-year-old actress Milahn Maharaj is SA's new rising star
Just 12 when she began filming for Deep End, a film set on Durban’s shores and telling the tale of a young woman who dreams of being a surfer, Milahn Maharaj, who plays the lead character’s younger sister, says she spent more time on set than you will see her on the scene.
Having starred in a supporting role – her second overall – she played Sarah in The Innovation of Loneliness – Maharaj is fast learning the ins and outs of the industry. In her case, it is juggling auditions, school, sports, and family.
“Time on set is great. It’s an opportunity to bond with cast and crew, and the energy is amazing.
“As our director Eubulus Timothy used to say, it can be ‘hurry up and wait’, but I used my time to practice my line.”
Time management appears to be second nature to this budding aerial gymnast, piano player, and painter.
By the time Milahn is of legal age, she’s bound to be an expert multi-tasker, and if she gets her way, she will be at Julliard in New York or Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, well on her way to producing her own movies.
She has already begun writing scripts.
“I had the privilege of doing one of Rajesh Gopie’s acting courses as I want to learn all the techniques I can to enhance my craft. It was during this time I realised I really enjoyed theatre. It’s exaggerated and dramatic. I want to participate in all areas of the industry.”
Milahn explains her passion for acting: “Ever since I did my first play, I knew acting was the path in life I wanted to take.
“Last year, I won the Brenda Dey-van Heerden award for drama, and I hope to win many more local and international awards in the future. One of my dreams is to act in an internationally recognised series.
“I want to experience an actress’s life, travelling across the world. I also want to become the youngest producer in South Africa. As I am still young and new to the industry, I want to take every opportunity I get, whether it is a small or big role.”
Currently attending Roseway Waldorf school, which places great emphasis on nurturing creativity, Milahn credits her success thus far to her mentors “the people that have given me a break in the industry, like Rajesh Gopie, Kajal Bagwandeen, Eubulus Timothy and Jacintha De Nobrega”.
She is the first to point out that the prestigious schools she has in mind are not just about talent, but also about all-round good grades and says school remains a priority.
So other than hitting the books, for the time being, she jokes that her starring role, for the time being, is at home with a Yorkie named Cole and a Labrador named Marley, who are her best friends.