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Viacom18, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and BBC Media Action initiate television series on urban sanitation

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing
Published : December 20, 2018 03:05 PM
The series named Navrangi Re! will be Hindi GEC Rishtey's first original production.

Viacom18 has partnered with philanthropic organization Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and BBC Media Action, development communications arm of BBC to create a general entertainment fiction series around urban sanitation in India.

The 26-episode series 'Navrangi Re!' will launch in January 2019 and will air bi-weekly, over 13 weeks, on Viacom18's Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) Rishtey along with its regional language channels COLORS Gujarati and COLORS Odia. The show will be the first original production on Rishtey and will also be available on the network's OTT platform VOOT. The Viacom18 team maintains that it's an "initiative to bring real development issues to the masses in an entertaining format."

Sudhanshu Vats & DOUBLE & # title= Sudhanshu Vats

Speaking about the show, Sudhanshu Vats, group CEO and MD, Viacom18 says "With 'Navrangi Re!', we are creating a platform that aptly uses the medium of entertainment to bring in mass behaviour change." Explaining Viacom18's partnership with the project, he adds, "Sanitation has been a cause that we are associated with through our sustainability project 'Chakachak Mumbai' and our film 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha'. We hope to engage our audiences with powerful storytelling and intend to bring forth the importance of faecal sludge management to keep 'Bharat Swachh'."

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded BBC Media Action to create and develop 'Navrangi Re!'. The show is being produced by Swastik Productions.

Madhu Krishna, India country lead, WSH, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says "In our mission to inspire people to take action to change the world, we partner with government, non-profits, academic institutions, and private sector. However, this is the first time that Gates Foundation has partnered with a satellite television network in India. 'Navrangi Re!' is an innovative approach to engage TV viewing audiences, digital citizens and social media users on sanitation issues."

'Navrangi Re!' is the story of a congested mohalla (neighbourhood) in a town in Northern India full of real, but quirky and endearing characters. Vishwaas, the hero of this 26-episode television drama series (played by actor Aamir Ali) is a struggling TV journalist who is not able to deliver 'breaking news' stories and finds his job on the line. But in this hunt for stories, he discovers the gateway to bring about change for his mohalla, aided by a few others.

Speaking about the partnership, Radharani Mitra, clobal creative advisor, BBC Media Action, says "BBC Media Action has created narrative-based interventions across the world, in partnership with public and private sector media networks that deliver a message but still entertain, and bring back viewers week after week. That's where the power of storytelling and compelling content come in. This partnership takes 'flush ke baad' (after flushing) into the space of mainstream media to reach TV viewing audiences."

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