Putting a question mark on reality shows, the family of a teenage girl has alleged she was unable unable to speak and was paralysed after being rebuked in one such show though doctors said she was possibly suffering from some form of encephalitis.
"She participated in several rounds of the reality show. After the third round, she came back depressed. A few days later, she became weak and stopped talking. We learnt she was scolded by judges in the third round," Sayantan Ghosh, cousin of the girl Shinjini Sengupta told PTI.
One of the judges at the show, Alaknanda Roy, denied this saying: "I don't think we can ever say something to hurt the child."
According to girl's family, Shinjini managed to shoot a few episodes for a tele-serial even in initial days of her depression and while one episode was being shot she began struggling with her dialogue and eventually stopped speaking.
Visits to a psychiatrist failed to yield any result and she was admitted to a nursing home earlier this month from where she was shifted to the Calcutta Medical Research Institute.
"When Shinjini was brought here she was unable to speak or eat. She was also very weak and unable to move her hands or legs. We conducted MRI tests and came to the conclusion that she was suffering either from Viral Encephalitis or Acute Disseminated Encephalo-Myalitis," Dr S S Nandi, CMRI's consulting neurologist, who attended on Sinjini, told PTI.
Nandi said Shinjini needed more specialised tests, which could not be conducted at CMRI. "We, therefore, advised that she be taken to Bengaluru."
Shinjini was admitted to NIMHANS, Bengaluru, on Friday evening, her cousin said.
D K Sengupta, father of the girl, did not blame anybody for Shinjini's plight but said children or teenagers should be encouraged at such shows.
"I am not blaming anybody. It's part and parcel of the game. But, children should be encouraged even if they did not taste success in reality shows."
Denying the charges, Alaknanda Roy, the judge, said 'may be the girl's elimination has triggered such an effect on her.'
"It is very unfortunate. We pray to God that she gets well," she said.
Roy, however, added: "We (the judges) are all upset at fingers being pointed at us. We are all mothers. I don't think we can ever say something to hurt the child."
"In reality shows, once eliminated everybody cries. It's quite normal, but I don't think this will affect any one so badly."
Footage of the reality show Raja Meri Naach Dhoom Macha De showed Shinjini breaking down after being scolded by one of the judges, screen actor Papiya Adhikari, for her poor performance in the third round.
"You dazzled earlier. I am very disappointed. What is this? What you have performed is a mood dance. We don't want to see it here. You are dancing in the important third round and you have Rs five lakh to win. Several crore of people are watching you. What is happening? I give you four out of 10."
Adhikari was seen saying sternly as Shinjini's face darkened and tears welled up.
Another judge Ringo told Shinjini that her performance in the third round had been 'unbelievably bad' and gave her three out of 10.
Noted danseuse Tanusree Shankar, also in the judges panel, said, "Your act was amateurish. It was not up to the standard. As a dancer do you realise it was not good? We all felt that there was hardly any involvement," and gave Shinjini five points.
Here, the XI-standard student initially tried to hold back her tears, but broke down and wept inconsolably, prompting the programme's host Sudipta Chakraborty to come to her rescue.
"You are strong enough to understand that crying is not a solution. Strengthen yourself mentally. Think. You've heard so much in front of so many people. Won't you be successful," Chakraborty asked.
Meanwhile, news of the girl's illness has sparked off frenzy in the media channels, with a number of them inviting public to comment on the reality show.