Outrage against Indian TV soap for glorifying child marriage

Tejaswi Prakash and Afaan Khan in a still from the promo of Pehredaar Piya Ki. (Video grab)
Updated 10 August 2017
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Outrage against Indian TV soap for glorifying child marriage

MUMBAI: A television soap opera that shows a 10-year-old boy married to a 19-year-old woman has outraged Indian viewers who want to ban the “bizarre show” for glorifying child marriage.
The show ‘Pehredar Piya Ki’ (’Husband’s Guard’) was launched last month on Sony Entertainment Television — a popular Hindi general entertainment channel in India — and is aired every weekday night in the prime 8:30 p.m. slot.
By Thursday, a Change.org petition urging information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani to ban the show had garnered nearly 50,000 signatures, just 48 hours after its launch.
The petitioner Mansi Jain questioned the influence the soap would have on viewers and said it showed the child perform marriage rituals such as putting vermillion on the older actor playing his wife.
“This soap is encouraging, glorifying and promoting child marriages and will negatively affect the entire society,” Asha Bajpai, professor of law at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“And what about the 10-year-old boy playing the husband’s role? What kind of values are we inculcating in him at this young, impressionable age?“
The legal age for marriage in India is 18 for women and 21 for men. But child marriage, though illegal, remains widespread in parts of the country.
Along with Niger, Guinea, South Sudan, Chad and Burkina Faso, India has one the world’s highest rates of child marriage, despite moves to toughen penalties against the crime.
The Child Marriage Prohibition Act imposes a $1,500 fine and two years in prison for parents caught marrying off their underage children.
India has been cracking down on child marriages and campaigners said such shows could dent progress.
The show’s actors have defended the story on social media, saying the soap is purely entertainment and does not promote child marriage.
Sony Entertainment Television officials remained unavailable for comment on the story. On its website, however, Sony boasts a record of riveting drama.
“With our prudent story telling, we continue to rule the roost with stories that are relevant, engaging and entertaining.”


Hollywood star Will Smith brings down curtain on Russia World Cup

Updated 15 July 2018
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Hollywood star Will Smith brings down curtain on Russia World Cup

  • Smith performed at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium

MOSCOW: Hollywood actor and singer Will Smith performed the soccer World Cup’s official song “Live It Up” in the tournament’s closing ceremony in Moscow on Sunday.
As Smith performed at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, giant screens laid out on the pitch showed images of soccer players and the colors of the Croatian and French flags — the two teams who face each other in the final.
Smith was joined on stage by Nicky Jam, a US-born singer with Puerto Rican roots, and by Era Istrefi, a pop singer who describes herself as Albanian Kosovar. Both artists had featured with Smith on the “Live It Up” single.
In the final sequence of the ceremony, Russian opera singer Aida Garifullina performed Russian folk song “Kalinka” accompanied by bagpipes, a children’s choir, and a percussion section.
That section featured a guest performer: Brazilian soccer star and past World Cup winner Ronaldinho, who for a few bars of the song hammered out the rhythm on an African drum.
The performances were a prelude to France and Croatia’s players taking to the pitch to begin their final match, in front of a packed crowd at the 80,000-seat stadium.