The recent incident of a 15 years old girl from Kolkata losing her voice due to reprimand by judges during a Bengali reality show is being widely discussed in TV and print media. Central Government has announced that it would soon come out with guidelines and regulations for such reality shows on TV where minors and kids are involved. Even as girl is being treated at a Bangalore hospital for reportedly severe mental shock, the show producers and parents are blaming each other in media. Times News ran the snippets of event last night with English subtitles and seeing them, I think the comments passed by judges were little harsh considering that the girl was in tears and visibly shaken.
Both the parties are to be blamed here. Both the Producers of such shows which try to make money by staging drama by encouraging unnecessary provocation and comments and parents who are ready to go to any extent to ensure that their kids become celebrities. Most of reality shows for kids are about songs and dances where kids enact popular movie numbers. Shows are sold to audiences as a quest to search for new talent and parents go to any length to make their kids participate in them. Some parents even quit their jobs to support their kid in this quest of this mini-celebrity hood. Now I might be little slow here in understanding but I don’t understand what sort of talent is found in these shows!! Often you see kids dancing to raunchy numbers which they don’t even perhaps understand. There are little girls who sing "beedi jalile jigar se piya...." and judges comment "fantastic...your expressions were excellent". That is preposterous. How can little kids be expected to or even required to understand such songs and then emote them either through song or dance!
In India parents often derive their own sense of achievement or failure by what their kids achieve or don’t achieve. This adds lots of pressure on kids to perform. You could see this behavior on so many reality shows for kids. You can see parents fighting with show organizers when kids get eliminated as if their whole world has crashed down. You can see parents staging emotional drama or using parchocial appeals to get votes from audiences. What sort of reality does it create for a kid who is still trying to get any comprehension of world around him/her?