Soon, new guidelines to ensure safety of child artistes on film sets

Art and safety: Panellists speak on child rights during the discussion organised by UNICEF and CRY in the city on Tuesday.

Art and safety: Panellists speak on child rights during the discussion organised by UNICEF and CRY in the city on Tuesday.  

Experts from the field of psychology, law and film emphasise the need for comfortable environments, continued education for children

The Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights will soon draft guidelines to prevent exploitation of child artistes in the entertainment industry.

Pravin Ghuge, chairperson of the commission, said on Tuesday, “Directors and film-makers often, for the sake of their artistic vision, make child artistes work harder and compromise on their sleep and education. These are basic rights that children should not be deprived of. One should know where art stops and exploitation starts,” he said.

Mr. Ghuge was speaking at a panel discussion organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Child Rights and You (CRY) and the commission. Film-maker Amol Gupte, actor Divya Dutta, Deputy Labour Commissioner Ashwin Kakatkar and clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany also took part.

“I assure you that when we come out with the draft, it will be open to the public for suggestions, so that the guidelines include all parameters and enable us to take appropriate action,” Mr. Ghuge said.

Although the Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016, prohibits employment of children below the age of 14 years, it makes an exception for children working in the audio-visual entertainment industry.

Mr. Gupte said, “The commission should send circulars to school principals, because they are the ones who allow and encourage children to miss school for months. Trying to adopt the European-American way of working, I ensure that no student working with me misses a single day of school while shooting. I hope every film-maker understands the sensitivity of this issue.”

Ms. Hingorrany said having therapists in schools and on sets during shoots is important to make the children comfortable. “Depression among children is increasing because parents have low self-esteem issues and they impose their dreams on children. The stigma that still exists around psychologists needs to change. We rush to a doctor when our child has fever, but we do not consult a psychologist until he or she attempts suicide.”

Actor Divya Dutta said that to prevent loneliness and lack of attention, a conducive environment needs to be created for children on sets and awareness should be spread among parents and in schools. “But it is not something one can preach or tell, it needs to come from within. The industry is not a bad place to work if basic things like sleep, safety and education are not compromised,” she said.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 12:26:16 AM |

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