Shoojit Sircar calls for ban on reality shows featuring children as they 'destroy them emotionally'

Director Shoojit Sircar has created a distinct identity for himself in the Indian film industry with films like Yahaan (2005), Vicky Donor (2012), Madras Cafe (2013), Piku (2015) and most recently, Pink (2016, which he produced).

Shoojit Sircar. Image via Facebook

Shoojit Sircar. Image via Facebook

A few months ago, the director also made a short film #ReleaseThePressure in collaboration with a soft drink brand. The film dealt with the pertinent issue of depression and suicidal tendencies plaguing children.

Continuing his stance on emancipation of children from societal pressure, he took to his Twitter account on 4 July and urged those in positions of authority to impose a ban on reality shows that featured  children. He said these shows destroy their young participants emotionally.

Veteran journalist Bharti Dubey got in touch with Sircar on behalf of Firstpost, and this is what he had to say:

What prompted you to do this (your tweet)?

I am seeing this for quite some time. I think not only the children, but also the parents — the way they are pushing their children to be on these reality shows is something to worry about. Also, the way these reality shows are getting designed — the images, the people who watch it, the kind of things that children get out of that — is of no moral value. I think they are destroying the basic morality of the childhood. These children are just 6-7 years old.

Not only the national programmes, I have been watching the regional ones and they are as pathetic. Even the judges who call themselves the creative brains of the country, the masters of the industry — Bollywood or Tollywood; how can they sit there and do this kind of crass (exercise) with children? Just for money?

Do you think schools should take some action? Do you think there should be some kind of a regulation?

Not just schools, I guess... custodians of  society should make a clear plan that till a particular age, there won't be any such shows... Yes in schools they have cultural functions where they can perform and that's absolutely fine. But  these shows have crossed the limits... I am not commenting or bothered about the channels because they do business. And for business, they will do anything. I am surprised how film industry's creative people, the so called 'very famous creative' people sit there and do this. Isn't it such a disgrace?

There isn't any regulation on the production functioning also — how many hours do the children stay on sets, the time a child is putting up for rehearsals etc. What do you have to say on that?

See that still can be taken care of. My problem is with what I am watching. What are they showing for the sake of TRPs? Are they showing me anything with morals? Everything that is there on the show is immoral and has no value addition. That is why I tweeted.

This issue is something that comes in limelight but fades much before stringent measures are taken. The reality show makers have time and again by-passed the laws that prohibit the use of children for commercial purpose.

Speaking to newindianexpress.com, Dr AD Revathy, former member of the Tamil Nadu CPCR, said, "Under the Right to Education Act, 2009, and the Abolition of Child Labour Act, 1986, of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), no child should be used to mint money or fame, which clearly many media houses and corporates work against. Shooting scheduled for long hours with younger kids is against the Act. It is mandatory for every child to have education between the age of 6-14 years. Those waiting in line miss school due to reality shows, which is an offence under the law."


Published Date: Jul 04, 2017 05:15 pm | Updated Date: Jul 04, 2017 05:15 pm

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