KIDS’ RE­AL­ITY SHOW DE­BATE STILL RAGES

Celebrity show judges counter Taare Zameen Par screen­writer Amole Gupte’s crit­i­cism that tal­ent shows dis­rupt the school years

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Yashika Mathur yashika.mathur@htlive.com ■

More fuel has been added to the fiery de­bate around TV re­al­ity shows for chil­dren, with ac­claimed film­maker Amol Gupte now crit­i­cis­ing how th­ese shows keep chil­dren out of school. Be­fore this, film­maker Shoojit Sircar spoke of the men­tal stress that the con­tes­tants have to en­dure.

Coun­ter­ing their stance, celebrity judges of TV re­al­ity shows say that they en­sure the chil­dren are treated well, and that giv­ing chil­dren a plat­form for tal­ent can’t be a bad thing.

Gupte, who wrote the story and screen­play for Taare Zameen Par (2007), a teach­er­stu­dent drama around let­ting child­hood blos­som, trounced the way chil­dren pass through th­ese shows, miss­ing school and then find­ing it dif­fi­cult to get back to their peer groups.

Coun­ter­ing that, com­poser Vishal Dad­lani, who has judged mu­sic re­al­ity shows, says, “When­ever I’ve done a chil­dren’s re­al­ity show, I’ve made sure that noth­ing goes wrong in terms of how they’re treated on the sets, and them at­tend­ing school reg­u­larly.”

As for the in­tense ri­valry the chil­dren are ex­posed to, Dad­lani says, “It’s re­ally im­por­tant to learn the essence of sports­man­ship, to learn how to com­pete fairly, and how to have fun while do­ing it. As long as the show is con­ducted in a way that pro­tects child­hood, I don’t see any is­sue.”

Film­maker and show judge Remo D’souza says, “On the shows that I’ve judged, I have not seen any kid suf­fer.”

Ac­tor Boman Irani, also a show judge, said ear­lier, “There are ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties in schools. When chil­dren are pre­par­ing for a school play, do we say that they are ‘work­ing’? They’re en­joy­ing them­selves.”

How­ever, clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Pulkit Sharma says that be­ing judged — and los­ing — so pub­licly can leave a deep im­pres­sion. “Chil­dren don’t have that kind of a rea­son­ing mind, where they can tell them­selves, ‘There will be other op­por­tu­ni­ties to win.’ I’ve worked with chil­dren who par­tic­i­pated in re­al­ity shows, and it’s very dif­fi­cult for them to come back to nor­mal life.”

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