This Children’s Day, it’s a pleasure to feature a bright young child. 10-year-old Nikhil Mathew-Arora, resident at Goregaon east, has recently launched his very own film review channel on YouTube, called Nikhil’s World.
The beginning of Nikhil’s World
Nikhil’s World features the young Nikhil sharing his candid and perceptive views on kids’ films he’s watched.
Son of senior journalist, Suresh Mathew and counsellor and change facilitator, Vasuda Arora, Nikhil fills us in on his interesting journey as a YouTuber. ‘I used to like watching YouTube videos of people making LEGO sets. My father asked me if I wanted to do one of my own, since I loved making LEGO sets myself. I immediately agreed’, he says. Needless to say, Nikhil was very excited at the prospect.
Nikhil’s World features 8 videos now, most of them about Ninjago. ‘We started Nikhil’s World with the thought that he would make and review LEGO sets on it, but by the time we got down to making these videos, he was totally into LEGO Ninjago and talking about the characters’, his parents said. The videos centre around the best Ninjas, best villains, etc. Nikhil has also reviewed The LEGO Ninjago Movie.
How does Nikhil’s World work?
As is the case with whichever movie he watches, the parents make it a point to discuss what Nikhil liked, didn’t like, his favourite scenes, favourite characters, and more such aspects. This is significant, given the lack of films that are actually meant for child viewing. Take it from Nikhil himself, who frankly said, ‘There aren’t enough films for children. I saw a few films at MAMI in the Half-Ticket section for children’.
The time taken varies from video to video. It all depends on how much time the father-son team has at hand to actually shoot and edit each one. ‘All the ideas are Nikhil’s because he knows the Ninjago world inside out’, Suresh says.
Nikhil types out the script on a laptop, his father makes a few corrections and asks him to rewrite parts that he feels need more clarity. ‘I make it a point not to add anything to it myself because it has to purely be his thoughts. I can push him to think about a certain element and let him add it to the script himself’, Suresh adds. Nikhil is now able to do a rough edit of the video on iMovie, leaving the final editing task to his father.
The Message from Nikhil’s World
In Hindi cinema, there is absolutely nothing significant that is made for kids. In fact in most of mainstream Indian cinema – the child in the audience is treated as a non-entity. This is a frank statement made by Nikhil’s parents and will find sympathy in many more.
‘We hardly get to see European, Iranian, Korean films here at a public place unless there is a festival. Most of us are happy with the usual Pixar, Dreamworks or Nickelodeon movies. There is a whole world of different films out there – some kids get to view them at events like MAMI, but what about the rest?’, Vasuda asks.
The need today, Nikhil’s parents assert, is for films that expand a child’s world view, teach him about diversity, hope, peace, friendship with themes that children can relate to.
Balancing Nikhil’s World with the real world
A 10-year-old’s YouTube channel can create so many questions – with parents battling to reduce screen time. How does this family ensure that Nikhil’s World maintains meaning and focus as a constructive one?
Nikhil’s parents reply, ‘We don’t worry about screen time; we are in the know of what he’s watching. We do insist that he gives his eyes the required rest. We do not have a cable TV connection, so that automatically balances the length of screen time’. They also make it a point to screen the comments that Nikhil’s World gets.
All in all, the channel is mainly Nikhil’s hobby. There is no attempt to put out videos on a regular basis. Therein lies the appeal of Nikhil’s World.
Apart from watching children’s films and reviewing them, Nikhil loves to read books, play LEGO, games on the iPad and draw. ‘I like to do magic tricks using cards and play with them as well’, he says.
Nikhil’s World is 30 subscribers strong and boasts of upto 400 views on videos. We highly recommend subscribing to it and sharing the word!
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