TV Rob opens up why his show ‘MAD' is popular so among kids
T he popular show on children's channel Pogo, MAD, has just started its eighth season. The Sunday morning art show brings to its young viewers a host of things that they can create at home, mostly out of waste material. And the man in command is Harun Robert, popular among his young viewers as Rob.
Rob takes out time to answer a few questions on MAD, as it moves into a new season. He also speaks about children's programming in general and his experience of hosting a show for kids. Excerpts from the interview:
What does art mean to you?
I was always passionate about art and had out-of-the-box ideas as far as storytelling is concerned. I believe art opens up the mind. I experience great joy in the whole process of deconstructing and constructing innovative pieces from waste material.
What other forms of art do you think children should be exposed to?
Yes, that's what we try to do in our show. I talk about different kinds of art forms, such as graffiti, sketching and clay art. We generally come up with a theme in every episode. We have had themes such as tribal art, photography and animation. In one of the episodes, we taught children how to create their own flipbooks, which when flipped looks like a motion picture. In another, I tried teaching them sculpting through some very easily available materials such as soaps, chalks and bouquet foams.
How did you choose to host a show for kids?
As an artist, I enjoy it. Along with teaching them, I learn so much from children. Moreover, the joy of making interesting things out of waste is a process that I particularly enjoy. These are very easily available materials. For instance, in one of my shows I once taught kids how they could make a beautiful submarine out of a plastic pet bottle. I think kids are the most challenging audience. It is extremely difficult to hold their attention. They are very honest about their likes and dislikes. I take care never to talk down to them. I think they are possibly the most honest, beings, and they will honestly tell you what they don't like and what I should improve upon in my work.
Do you think programming for kids has changed over the years? Has it been a positive or a negative outcome?
I think it has changed a lot. I'm happy that now we have programmes such as MAD, where kids are encouraged to think creatively. It is a positive change. Do you think kids' programmes should also be a little more information based today?
Well, you can have information. But I think teaching them art is also equally information based. There is a lot of teaching happening here as well. For instance, there are shows when I taught kids how to use junk of car parts to make a 20-30 ft robot. At the same we have shows like small picture, where they can do a lot of what they might not be able to do sitting at home otherwise.
What do you think about technology taking over children's lives today? I think there are good and bad things you can do with technology. But when I see youngsters in remote corners of the country watching my show, I think technology is a boon. It has helped us connect and reach out to so many children.
(“MAD” is aired every Sunday at 10.30 a.m.)
KARAN DEEP SINGH