On 25th July, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) instructed Sony Pictures Networks (Set India) to delete videos from a dance reality show where the judges asked a child participant sexually explicit questions. The video went viral on social media after the popular Twitter handle Gems Of Bollywood shared it and sought action from NCPCR on the makers and channel for promoting such content.
NCPCR has written to Sony Pictures Networks over a video on social media showing a clip from an episode of the children’s dance show Super Dancer -Chapter 3 which aired on Sony Entertainment Television where judges were allegedly seen asking a minor “vulgar & sexually explicit”… pic.twitter.com/0w6KwEF6Ye
— ANI (@ANI) July 25, 2023
In a letter undersigned by NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo, the commission said that the commission came across a video on Twitter from kid’s dance show named Super Dancer Chapter 3 that was aired on Sony Entertainment Television. In the clip, the judges were seen asking the minor child participant vulgar and sexually explicit questions regarding his parents on the stage. The letter was addressed to the Grievance Officer of Sony Pictures Networks, Shaeesta Naqvi.
The following video contains sexually explicit content. Viewers’ discretion is advised.
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 kidspic.twitter.com/49K7RzSWzr
— Gems of Bollywood बॉलीवुड के रत्न (@GemsOfBollywood) July 24, 2023
The commission remarked that all the questions asked to the minor child were inappropriate and disturbing in nature. Taking cognisance under Section 13 (i)(j) of CPCR Act, 2005, the commission said the channel had violated provisions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and the Information Technology Act, 2000. The commission also observed that the content presented in the video violated the guidelines laid down by NCPCR under “Guidelines for Child And Adolescent Participation In The Entertainment Industry And Any Commercial Entertainment Activity”.
NCPCR instructed the channel to immediately take down the said episode and explain to the commission why such questions were asked to the minor child participant on a kid’s dance show. The commission also instructed the channel not to stream any such content on the channel in the future. The channel is required to send an Action Taken Report to the Commission within seven days of receipt of the letter.
Details of the content of the video
The video that was shared on Twitter did not have all the problematic content. We also noticed that the video was uploaded on the child artist’s YouTube channel. At the beginning of the video, the child was shown farting on camera and was mocked by the voiceover in the background. When the artist arrived on the stage in a Lungi, one of the judges, Bollywood director Anurag Basu asked him if he was wearing anything under it. The child replied he was wearing underwear, and everyone laughed.
The following video contains inappropriate content involving a child, viewers’ discretion is advised.
While this was problematic enough, the judges did not stop there. The child said the underwear he was wearing was like his father’s. Basu asked if his underwear was better than his father’s. The child replied his underwear was better as his father’s underwear stinks. Then, another judge, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty questioned the artist why he went to smell his father’s underwear. The child replied he did not voluntarily smell but ‘died of the stink’, and the judges laughed again. The parents, especially the father, were visibly embarrassed by the conversation but could not do anything.
The child then said, “My mother spanks my father after pulling down his pants,” a dialogue that could have been avoided from being aired, but the channel went with it in the editing. The third judge, Bollywood choreographer Geeta, encouraged the kid by saying he was cute, while the father started to get visibly depressed by the conversation.
After his performance, the parents were called on the stage. When the child was asked about his age, he said he was five years old and said he loved his parents and often gave them kisses to show his love. Basu asked if his father had kissed his mother. Again, the question could have been avoided. The child said, “No, my father woos my mother on the bed.” His father was embarrassed but could not react. Shilpa mentioned that the judge noticed that the father was uncomfortable, but the trio laughed. The father was then asked for comments, to which he said, “I do not want to say anything. He is only five years old. He will say whatever he sees.”
The problematic content involving child artists
This is not the first time such content has appeared on television shows and on social media. Gems of Bollywood shared such videos in the past as well. However, the outrage did not stop the makers of ‘reality shows’ involving kids from using vulgar content for promotional purposes.
Talent shows, especially dance shows, have often been accused of displaying children in an inappropriate manner, making them play roles of romantically involved adults sharing physical intimacy in the name of performance and even engaging them in dance moves and expressions totally unsuitable for their age. Sadly, those acts are often applauded and cheered on by judges and audiences alike.
What an age to learn twerking! What an audience that cheers a kid doing this because “oh, she looks like a toy”
— Gems of Bollywood बॉलीवुड के रत्न (@GemsOfBollywood) July 5, 2022
This is what baby girls are being made to do in name of ‘talent’
Where will this talent take them?
Super Dancer being aired on TV where kids from 4-13 participate. A complete Bollywood fest with songs, dances, judges, producers, directors all from the industry https://t.co/wpBdGpCE7Q
— Gems of Bollywood बॉलीवुड के रत्न (@GemsOfBollywood) July 7, 2022
In October 2022, a video featuring child artist and Instagram influencer Riva Arora made headlines as it featured her in a bar with actor Karan Kundrra who is almost triple her age. Kundrra played the role of one of her boyfriends in the video. Following the outrage and a notice from NCPCR, the video was removed, and Riva’s mother issued an apology.
In February 2022, Filmfare promoted a child artist recreating Gangubai Khthiwadi’s look from the film. Notably, Alia Bhatt played the role of a madame who was sexually assaulted by the mafia. Hundreds of videos featuring children recreating the same look led to outrage over social media. Filmfare removed the video after the outrage, but most of the content remains on Instagram.