On Tuesday (25 July), the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) issued a notice to Sony Pictures Networks, over a dance show where a child participant was asked “vulgar and sexually explicit questions regarding his parents on stage”.
The notice, addressed to Grievance Officer of Sony Pictures, asked the video to be pulled down from its platforms.
The Commission acted after taking note of the video first uploaded by a popular Twitter account, Gems of Bollywood, on 24 July.
In the video, which was part of Sony’s show Super Dancer Chapter 3, a child was shown on stage while three judges — actress Shilpa Shetty, filmmaker Anurag Basu and choreographer Geeta Kapoor — indulged him in a banter.
The child made several comments including that the underwear of his father stinks and it’s bad enough to kill him and that his mother unzips his father’s pants.
The conversation goes like this: Basu asks the child if he was wearing anything under his lungi, to which the child replies — underwear. The child says his underwear resembles his father’s. Basu asks him to compare his underwear with his father’s, to which the child replies that unlike his underwear, his father’s underwear stinks.
Shetty then asks the child why he smelled his father’s underwear. The child then makes the comment that his mother removes his father’s pant and thrashes him in the rear. In further conversation, Basu asks the child if his father kissed his mother.
Throughout this conversation, the child’s parents were seen sitting and blushing among the large audience and the three judges laughing hysterically.
The video can be seen on the Twitter account below. The caption by Gems of Bollywood reads, “Child is made to deliver vulgar remarks on parents on stage in a kid show. Everyone laughs and the episode is available for all ages on YouTube! #BollywoodKiGandagi are not role models. They are biggest enemies of Vishwaguru vision. Destroyer of our kids”.
The episode was aired on Sony in 2018, and can be seen on its website here. The show’s description mentions that all its participants are between four and 13 years of age.
The notice from NCPCR reads, “The Commission has come across a video on Twitter from your kid's dance show called Super Dancer Chapter 3 which was aired on Sony Entertainment Television, wherein it is seen that the judges on the show were asking the minor child vulgar and sexually explicit questions regarding his parents on stage.”
The Commission is of the view that all the questions asked to the minor child were “inappropriate and disturbing in nature and not meant to be asked to children”, it adds.
NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said that the network's actions have violated provisions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the Information Technology Act, 2000 as well as the Commission's guidelines on child and adolescent participation in the entertainment industry.
He asked for the video to be pulled down by Sony, and sought explanation on why such questions were posed to the child.
Kanoongo told the media yesterday, "We received a complaint from an activist group, Gems of Bollywood, that there's a show named Super Dancer 3 on Sony TV in which kids are being ill-treated. We examined the issue and found out that kids are being asked inappropriate questions and they are being put in awkward situations in front of their parents…We've written to the concerned channel and DM to begin proceedings in this issue.”
Readers may remember that Gems of Bollywood founders — Sanjeev Newar and Swarajya journalist Swati Goel Sharma — were recently given ‘Sanskritik Yoddha’ award by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and former Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan for highlighting religious and perverted propaganda served on mainstream films and audio-video platforms through their social media initiative.
Super Dancer is a children's dance reality show that was aired on Sony TV from 2016 to 2021 over four seasons.
The Twitter account, Gems of Bollywood, has earlier too highlighted problematic content aired on the show. After the recent notice, founders of the account wrote to the Commission bringing the other videos to the government’s attention.
Their letter says,
-The show “… exploits children for sleazy acts that are in blatant violation of guidelines issued by NCPCR regarding child artists in entertainment shows”
-“…the show is led by a panel of judges who are celebrities and hold significant influence.”
The questionable videos include one where a little girl was made to be cabaret on stage and mock-slashed the throat of a person (watch here), a six-year-old girl made to dance on a sexually suggestive item number (watch here) and making a child force-kiss and dance on a sexually explicit song while dressed in traditional religious shikhadhari attire (watch here).
The letter asked the Commission to direct the show to be taken off air.
Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.
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