Media
Viacom18, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and BBC Media Action join hands to bring India's first fiction television series on urban sanitation: 'Navrangi Re!'
20 December, 2018

The social impact show Navrangi Re! will be Rishtey’s first original production.

National, 20th December 2018: In an industry first, India’s fastest growing media and entertainment company Viacom18, has partnered with the world’s largest philanthropic organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and development communications specialists, BBC Media Action to create a general entertainment fiction series with an underlying behaviour change message on sanitation.

The 26-episode finite series ‘Navrangi Re!’ will launch in January 2019 and will go on-air, bi-weekly, over 13 weeks, on Viacom18 network’s Hindi General Entertainment Channel – Rishtey, 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.

A maiden effort for Indian satellite television, this is an initiative to bring real development issues to the masses in an entertaining format – issues that are otherwise packaged in typical research or data reports, which oftentimes do not reach the mass audience.

Speaking about the show, Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO & MD, Viacom18 said: “We at Viacom18 believe in the power of partnerships to effect impact at scale. 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 further added, “Sanitation has been a cause that we are closely associated with, whether through our sustainability project ‘Chakachak Mumbai’ or 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.”

‘Navrangi Re!’ is a drama series that tells a powerful story to address an urgent issue faced by urban India. 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, talks about this relationship, “We are very excited about working with Viacom18 and BBC Media Action on ‘Navrangi Re!’. 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 (a 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. It is entertainment all the way using an ensemble cast made up of thespian actors such as Sushmita Mukherjee, Raju Kher, Vaishnavi Dhanraj and other promising talent.

Speaking about the partnership, Radharani Mitra, Global Creative Advisor, BBC Media Action said: 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.”

About Viacom18
Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd. is one of India's fastest growing entertainment networks and a house of iconic brands that offers multi-platform, multi-generational and multicultural brand experiences. A joint venture of TV18, which owns 51%, and Viacom Inc., with a 49% stake, Viacom18 defines entertainment in India by touching the lives of people through its properties on air, online, on ground, in shop and through cinema.

About Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In India, the foundation focuses on four sectors: health, sanitation, financial services, and agricultural development and works with national and state governments, Indian businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and development partners to generate economic growth for the benefit of all Indians. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About BBC Media Action
BBC Media Action is the BBC’s international development charity and has been using the power of media and communications to achieve development goals across 29 countries. We have been in India since 2001, and in that time have pioneered the use of narratives for social impact with seminal and highly successful television dramas such as Jasoos Vijay (HIV and AIDS) and more recently AdhaFULL (gender and adolescence). You can find out more about the work worldwide at: www.bbcmediaaction.org.