Kailash Satyarthi, Bollywood and Child Labour

“In over four decades there has been no marked improvement in the condition of young ones on movie sets and it can still be called ”child labour”.”

–          Actress Sarika in Deccan Herald

Recently, I saw program on actress Sarika on some TV channel, she was narrating about an incident in her childhood, where while shooting for a song she was made to walk on rails of railway track during peak summer. She was rushed to hospital after shooting. She equated her film career during childhood phase with child labour. What surprised me was she blamed her mother for forcing her to work in films, but absolved producer and director. While her greedy mother is at fault, the producer & directors are equally responsible. Making a child artist work in inhuman conditions till she collapses is not just unethical but also illegal.

Naaz

“I would come home late, hungry and tired. But my parents were busy fighting and did not bother about my dinner. I had no one to turn to.”

-Actress Naaz in documentary – Children of the Silver Screen.

There are few more such cases ex. actress Naaz, Honey and Daisy Irani. Their stories are similar, they were forced to work during childhood, they never went to school, and whatever money they earned was taken away by their mothers, leaving them penniless by the time they became adults.

irani

“Honey and I had no childhood, no education. We didn’t go to school. We were pushed into acting by our parents. By the time we grew aware of our predicament, our childhood was gone. We made a lot of money, but got none of it. Our mother blew it all up but no regrets,”

– Daisy Irani in Times of India.

Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi won Noble Peace Prize this year for his efforts to give back child labour her childhood. I feel child labour in Bollywood is not likely to be on his radar, because number of children exploited in other industries is much higher ex. fireworks, carpets, beedi, domestic help etc. But abolishing child labour from entertainment industry should also become a priority.

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