Adored by youngsters and abhorred by parents, Shin Chan has been riding high on popularity charts ever since he made his Indian debut in 2006. However, like all things taking beating in these recession-esque times, the troublemaker’s popularity trail, too, seems to have hit a rough patch.
Repeated complaints lodged by parent bodies with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry led the latter to question the show’s content. Shin Chan consequently went off air and has been missing from the television scene for close to five weeks now.
The animated boy’s incorrigible behaviour — arguing with his mother and critiquing her appearance — is what irks the elderly lot. In Japanese popular culture, Shin Chan is a manga, which is a graphic novel typically intended for adults. The animated version of Shin Chan is called anime, which is meant for older audiences, and is characterised by extensive violence. The show is not meant for children.
Despite this, Hungama continues to run the show. While parents feel victorious, Chan’s younger fans feel let down. Sixteen-year-old Abeer Sharma is among the latter. “The cartoon is about entertainment. Parents who have a problem with the show should prevent their children from watching and not call for a ban,” he said. Punita Ghosh, a parent, is predictably happy with Chan’s absence. “I’m glad the show is now off-air. My son would copy whatever he did on the show,” she said Aditi Misra took action in her capacity as parent even before the Ministry could do anything. She locked Hungama TV immediately after she saw an episode of Shin Chan with her five-year-old son one day.
That happened a year ago. She is not convinced of unblocking the channel as Shin Chan may still be back on air if the channel agrees to delete the objectionable portions. “We have asked the channel to delete certain characteristics of the protagonist which could have adverse impact on children,” an I&B ministry official said.
The channel, on the other hand, seems to have launched a veiled campaign called Mission Ha Ha Hungama endorsed by actor Darsheel Safary. The campaign asks viewers to combat the ‘Anti-Laughter Squad’ (ALS) that has invaded Hungama TV, and is threatening to wipe out all the fun.
Under this mission, kids along with parents have been asked to come to a specified venue, and thwart the ALS’s attempts. The channel had no comments on this. “Shin Chan is not been banned. There’s a query on the show from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The matter is under consideration with the Ministry. We don’t have any comments at the moment,” said Hungama TV spokesperson.