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Navrangi Re! - How a mohalla’s shit can make or break a TV journo’s career?!

Navrangi Re! - How a mohalla’s shit can make or break a TV journo’s career?!

by The Daily Eye News Desk January 11 2019, 5:18 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 49 secs

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 on Rishtey, is a struggling TV journalist, played by Aamir Ali, 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 in his Mohalla, aided by a few others. He falls in love, faces resistance, uses his smarts, struggles with moral dilemmas and amidst high drama, laced with wit and satire, helps Mohalla Navrangi unite to deal with issues that need addressing.

Navrangi Re! is an innovative challenge to engage TV viewing audiences, digital citizens and social media users with sanitation issues. In India, toilets have been built and a lot of communication has focused on their use. But with only a third of urban Indian homes being connected to sewer systems and almost 38% relying on on-site sanitation structures such as septic tanks, we need to start tackling the safe containment, disposal and treatment of faecal waste. Households need to start desludging septic tanks before there is backflow or overflow as well as questioning and resisting untreated faecal sludge being indiscriminately dumped.

Mohalla Navrangi does not sit on a sewer system. Different families in the Mohalla are at different points in the sanitation arc. Some have septic tanks, but never clean them in the right way or regularly enough; some have wrongly built septic tanks; some are insanitary toilet owners; some have no toilets at all; and only a few know the right thing to do! People don’t know about faecal sludge and they simply don’t care! Navrangi Re! is about making this invisible risk visible. The series raises critical questions around ‘flush ke baad’ and models solutions using the power of the narrative. For most people, contact with a toilet ends the moment they flush. What happens after that is also important and this is where an entertaining TV drama could help. Why #GiveAShit about shit should be important to urban India, just as air quality is today?!

Mohalla Navrangi indeed has nine to a shade – an IAS aspirant heroine with a mind of her own; a wall that talks; a rich and ruthless diva; a halwai (confectioner) who hates parting with his money; a monster that’s growing underground! It is the laugh-a-minute story of a community living on the edge, teetering from one crisis to another and then led by Vishwaas to take control of their lives. Navrangi Re! has 14 running characters, using an ensemble cast made up of thespian actors such as Sushmita Mukherjee, Raju Kher, Vaishnavi Dhanraj and other promising talent. The Bollywood superstar Anil Kapoor stars in one of the episodes playing himself.

Every weekend, over two episodes, an event plays linked to a sanitation theme, that leads to recognition, judgment, or decision (to act), either individually or collectively. But characters may or may not succeed in resolving issues each week. Most characters will be grey and there may be only one or two who do not change for the better through the series. All of this is packaged with elements of romance, intrigue, humour and high drama, that should bring back viewers week after week.

It is the story of Vishwaas and Chitralekha, how they come together and bind the community together to fight the invisible monster of faecal sludge that is threatening to engulf the Mohalla. It is the story of India, a country that lives in many centuries, where the number of mobile phones far exceed that of toilets, where tarakki gets caught between age-old mores and new aspirations. Ultimately it is a story of hope and optimism.

Catch the 26-episode finite series ‘Navrangi Re!’ to be launched this month and which will go on-air, bi-weekly, over 13 weeks, on Viacom18 network’s Hindi General Entertainment Channel – Rishtey and 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 show, an industry first, has been put together by development communications specialists, BBC Media Action with the world’s largest philanthropic organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with India’s fastest growing media and entertainment company Viacom18, to create a general entertainment fiction series with an underlying behaviour change message on sanitation.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.