SBS TV's The Hunting reiterates how unsafe we all are online

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s being described as a show that should be seen by parents of all high school kids. SBS TV’s new four-part series The Hunting is based on the stresses and strains of late adolescence, played out under the dehumanising effects of social media.
At a time when raging hormones turn high schoolers into troubled beings, their parents are dealing with their own developmental issues in their particular stage of life. The young ones seek outlet in online activity, a ubiquitous aspect of modern day teen life, even as their older counterparts struggle to understand the new forms of media.
Throw into the mix some migrant dilemma, and you have a TV series.

The Hunting.Indian Link
Photo: Nat Rogers

Adelaide-based South Asian actor Kavitha Anandasivam plays one of two high school students caught up in image-based sexual abuse. An innocent flirtation mushrooms into the unthinkable, no thanks to the online phrase “pics or it didn’t happen.” Devastating effects ensue for the families and the schools involved.
Is there much sexting, sharing and commenting going on in high school these days, we ask Kavitha, a Year 11 student herself.
“Sexting is definitely rampant,” she tells Indian Link. “Not so sure about the sharing and commenting…. but yes I’ve heard about real life examples of image-based sexual abuse.”

Are young people aware about issues such as consent?
“There’s not much discussion about consent. Only about sex. It’s not ingrained in us. But I think most people know it’s important…”
Her answer is alarming, and brings home the fact loud and clear that this is, as the show portends to highlight, one of the pressing issues of our time as far as young adults are concerned.
How much do parents talk to their kids about “safe” behaviour online and otherwise, we ask Kavitha.
“My own parents, not that much, but they spoke to my older brother a lot. And he in turn talked to me about cyber bullying, about not having more than three people on my Snapchat, and about filters etc.”
She laughs, “He’s very protective of me. In fact so protective that my parents had to step in and tell him to take a back seat!”
There is some talk about it all at school as well, she notes. Schools are intricately involved, we learn from the show, as much of the encounters unfold there. We also learn how schools themselves are struggling to come to terms with this new problem, grappling with issues such as policing strategy and disciplinary action.
The Hunting1.Indian Link
Kavitha Anandasivam and Yazeed Daher. Photo: Nat Rogers

Kavitha impresses in her debut screen role. In a mixed cast of experienced as well as new actors, she is able to stand on her own admirably: convincing in her healthy integration with peers, a quiet fondness for her parents’ “ethnic” mannerisms, a gentle rebellion as she seeks to venture outside the boundaries set by them, wide-eyed wonder at new experiences, innocent playfulness with the object of her attraction, and always, always, a resolute understanding that she must do well at school (might be interesting to know if indeed the writers’ room took in some cultural consultation, or at least a sensitivity reading, as the diversity advocates have been demanding).
“We were six weeks in filming, all day on some days,” Kavitha reveals. “I’d say my most memorable experience was the swimming pool scene: it’s a short scene, but we had to jump in and out of the water and it was freezing. It’s the coldest I’ve ever been – the temperature drop sent shocks through our body!”
Kavitha scored the role through her drama group SAYarts which she joined two years ago.
“I told my brother about it first ‘cos I thought he would be more supportive, being a musician (he lives and works in Berlin). But my parents encouraged me to follow my passion.”
She counts as her influences British actors Helena Bonham Carter and Brit Pack A-lister Tom Hardy. And there’s been a tiny bit of Bollywood too, her Sri Lankan background notwithstanding. “I’ve seen Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – I thought it was entertaining but too long!”
We’ll wait and see if a talent such as hers will be lapped up by the industry, especially one that is slowly opening up to the appeal of diverse actors.
The Hunting2.Indian Link
Photo: Nat Rogers

“Growing up, I saw no one on TV with my skin colour,” she observes. “I’d love to do more work in front of the camera if there are opportunities. It’s more intimate than theatre, I feel.”
And what has she learnt about herself in this entire experience?
“To trust my gut. I doubted my abilities, thinking what if I can’t do it, or reach that emotional space… but it all came through fine.”
In a show with other diverse actors, and one which blends the Punjabi and the Arabic seamlessly with the English, Kavitha might well have found herself the perfect launchpad for her acting career.
Watch The Hunting every Thursday at 8.30pm on SBS, and on SBS On Demand.

- Advertisement -
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

Related Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

TiE at Nazaarey wines

TiE Melbourne: developing conscious entrepreneurs

  When Prakash Gupta and his wife Seema migrated to Australia in 2000 as skilled professionals, they were in search of job opportunities. They felt...
b'desh art org qagoma

South Asian artists in QAGOMA’s Asia Pacific Triennial

  In the 10th edition of QAGOMA's Asia Pacific Triennial (APT10), the exhibition hopes to look to the future of art and the world we...

Saahil Bhargava pays homage to Aussie rock band Karnivool

  Fresh off his debut EP released back in August, LA-based singer-songwriter Saahil Bhargava has unveiled what he’s dubbed an “homage” to one of Australia’s...
argyle street parramatta

Police investigate armed robbery at Parramatta jewellery store

  NSW Police are appealing for assistance to locate a vehicle following an armed robbery at a jewellery store at Parramatta. At around 2:35 PM on...
pratham girls

#LightALife: Pratham Australia raises $20k this Diwali

  It started off with a simple concept: for every $20 donation, a diya was lit this Diwali. And for every 25 diyas, adding up...