A drama about poo?! You must be joking!!
‘Life Navrangi’ – a new, ‘never before’ kind of web drama series!
Starring Aamir Ali and Krishna Mukherjee it launches on YouTube (Channel Navrangi) totoday
New Delhi ,
BBC Media Action aunched Life Navrangi (the second drama in the Navrangi series), a first-of-its-kind web drama on YouTube, produced by Bodhitree Multimedia.
The series follows the successful 26-episode television drama Navrangi Re! broadcast by Viacom18 on three of its channels and OTT platforms in 2019. Both dramas were supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Life Navrangi and its key character Vishwas, a young journalist, once again played by Aamir Ali, is all set to entertain, educate, and jolt people out of their doom scrolling. The heroine of this show is a runaway bride Saloni, a budding YouTuber, known better as #SimplySaloni. What happens when they meet? They team up to launch a YouTube channel, on which they tell real stories (as opposed to fake news) that make a difference to people’s lives.
How do they reinvent themselves? Who else becomes part of their lives? Is there something that’s hidden in plain sight about their relationship from people in the mohalla (neighbourhood)? Are they going to tell new stories? The answers lie in Life Navrangi.
Directed by Debatma Mandal, Life Navrangi was shot in Bhopal and consists of seven episodes, each of 22-26 minutes, aiming to increase awareness and civic engagement around the issue of faecal sludge management (FSM) in India. The drama has a stellar cast featuring thespians such as Aamir Ali, Krishna Mukherjee, Tiku Talsania, Swaroopa Ghosh and Dolly Minhas, and young talented actors such as Krishna Mukherjee, Rohit Gujjar and Rohit Pargai. The show also includes actors from Bhopal, which has a rich theatre and performing arts tradition.
Aamir Ali, who reprises the role of Vishwas said, “I love my role – that of a disillusioned TV anchor, who has quit his plum job, because he wants to tell real stories, as opposed to fake news. I, with my female lead, launch a channel called Tedhi Medhi Kahani (Quirky Tales) – and you will see what happens when we do our stories! I am excited about being associated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and BBC Media Action in creating conversation around the important issue of sanitation. This show was a lot of fun to shoot, and I hope it increases awareness and positively influences behavior change with respect to sanitation practices.”
Krishna Mukherjee, who plays the female lead, Saloni said, “I am a runaway bride, bubbling with ambition to ‘settle down’ in my career! My character, in fact, all the female characters in Life Navrangi have been crafted carefully from a gender perspective so that viewers can relate to their situations and struggles. The power dynamics between male and female characters is very interesting and it was a fabulous opportunity to play a role that I truly believed in.”
Life Navrangi navigates relevant and interesting issues – plans and difficulties about owning one’s dream home, making a mark in one’s profession, dealing with debt and a marriage threatening to fall apart. In the story, correct FSM services almost become a metaphor for a more organised way of living, managing resources and relationships, achieving one’s goals. The female characters in the show all have voice and agency and act to do what is right. Gender norms are a constant subtext running through the narrative, as is breaking gender stereotypes.
Talking about the decision to launch the new series on YouTube, Radharani Mitra, Global Creative Advisor, BBC Media Action said, “We decided to transport Navrangi’s new avatar to YouTube, as there’s been an exponential growth in consumption of digital content during the pandemic. In keeping with BBC Media Action’s narrative approach, Life Navrangi’s objective is to entertain first, tapping into the audience’s aspirations and anxieties. We carry forward Vishwas, played by Aamir Ali into a new mohalla and a new life, with new motivations that are relevant in today’s world. He and Saloni represent the aspirations of small-town India. their preoccupations and the fact that they want to lead life on their own terms, whatever the challenges are! No spoilers here, except to say, the ensemble cast of characters are heroic, each in their own way. Life Navrangi”.
Mautik Tolia, Producer, Bodhitree Multimedia said, “Life Navrangi is a testament to the power of storytelling. It talks about something that’s never before been talked about in a web drama – what happens after you pull the flush, and how poo can travel back to affect everyone’s lives and health. We embraced the challenge because it is also about creating social impact – on issues like sanitation, health and gender. BBC Media Action wanted an authentic yet entertaining drama, and we shot it in Bhopal, managing many constraints and challenges, thrown up by the pandemic. Life Navrangi is special because it is telling a story while walking the tightrope between entertainment and achieving impact.”
The episodes will be released every Thursday starting 19 May 2022.