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Cameras roll in classrooms

Mumbai, June 30: The director, Vrinda, shouts for the three cameramen to take position.

“Camera I, I will have a long shot of the guests,” she hollers as the floor is cleared and the cameras roll for the dry run of Splitting Views, a chat show that won’t be available on your TV.

The heated discussions on the “hot” topic of adult music videos will be available only on Ryan TV, the country’s first television broadcasting station run by children — all under 16.

The director, production team, anchor, guests and audience are all students of the city’s Ryan International School.

The crew of 30 are yet to finish their media training — or for that matter, Class X — but have already braved night shifts, outdoor shoots, rain, and chasing people who are too busy or very rude.

The school channel of chat shows, news bulletins, health and fashion magazines — with occasional frivolities such as music videos — was launched on June 25.

All classrooms get to share the action in the fully air-conditioned and soundproof state-of-the-art studio with three cameras, two editing machines, and sound-mixers, and three outdoor units.

If a confident Vrinda, of Class IX, is the director, then Shweta Parakh, also of Class IX, is the host of Shweta Manch, a current affairs programme in which she addresses burning issues of the day — first off the block will be the Conditional Access System.

Vrinda, who also doubles as a news correspondent, has done a feature on the city’s sewage, and Priya has done another on the rubble left by construction work.

The one thing all of them find “real tough” is editing. But mass communications graduate Utkarsh Marwah, the creative head of the school, is there to help them.

The daily programming of Ryan TV will include a 5-minute news capsule and 30 minutes of other programmes, all produced by the children who will take turns at the work. “There is a zero period of 30 minutes every day,” says Marwah, when Ryan TV will be broadcast.

The idea is to make education TV-friendly, rather than the other way round — “It’s All About Children” goes the channel’s catchline.

The school has realised that films, media and entertainment are a staple for the children. So if television can’t be beat, then why not use it — goes the school’s logic.

The students who missed classes for the workshop, which started on June 10, can’t think or talk of anything else. “When I watch TV now, I don’t listen to what people are saying, but whether the frame is right,” says Rudren, of Class VIII.

Shweta is busy with her crew, grilling everyone around — from the housewife to the autowallah to the cablewallah, who is a very reluctant interviewee.

The school plans to guide the children into making educational programmes later. They will be made to take in their stride the latest advancements in biology and chemistry along with the latest from Fashion Street.

The students have found that working for the media is not all fun; it’s also tough. For instance, Shweta had a tough time forcing her reluctant cablewallah into an interview. Another crew member had to flash his “reporter” card to gatecrash into some place.

But, in the process, they have gained first-hand experience of the enormous research and running around a good journalist has to do.

So that’s all right as all the students want to be television personalities — at least for now.

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