Labour ministry looking into talented child artistes

Talented child artistes in Bollywood can now dream big and aim for laurels. The growing popularity of these young stars has come to the notice of the Labour Ministry and the Labour Department Commissioner of Maharashtra Upmanyu Chatterjee is currently in Delhi to meet the Labour Minister. During the two day meet on labour laws, they will also discuss if children acting in films or television will be part of child labour or not.
To know more about this we contacted Dinesh Chaturvedi, Secretary, Federation of Western India Cine Employee (FWICE). He says, “All child artistes are members of Cine and TV Artists association. At present we have members from the age of four to 14-year-olds. If there are younger children and are acting then they have to become members. The association makes sure that all the child artistes are treated well.

Till date there have been no complaints about ill treatment since most producers take child artistes very seriously as they become their responsibility. At times, producers even keep one or two spot boys or may be a helper particularly for the child. It depends on the producer or channel if they want to provide any additional facilities.”

When contacted, Ashwini Yardi, Programming Head of Colours, says, “The channel has three shows in which children are our main leads.We make sure that the child is not stressed out because of the shoot. We ask one of the parents to be with the child on the sets, all the time. We have also arranged for one teacher and a psychiatrist.”

The entertainment industry has embraced the new-age marketing mantra of selling to and through children. Taare Zameen Par is a case in point. Never before had the industry taken films about children as seriously as it did this.

In order to weed out confusion about children being part of child labour we contacted advocate Benny Joseph, who said, “As of now children acting in films and TV is not child labour. It is taken as appreciation of anybody’s art and talent.”

To know the perspective of a child actor we spoke to Sparsh Khanchandani, an eight-year-old child and the protagonist of Uttran and perhaps one of the youngest lead actresses of the TV world. “I love coming on the sets. I want to be an IAS officer. My doctor on the sets told me that I will have to study for eight years to become one. So whenever I get time on the sets I just study and make notes. My teachers are happy with my overall progress.”

FWICE Rules for child artistes

• They have to work for a maximum of eight hours a day.

• Their studies should not be hampered due to shootings.

• The producer has to schedule shoots of children with the consent of parents.

• A child should get regular breaks during shoots.

• There should be a doctor on the sets.

Report By:Runna Ashish Bhutda

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