Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BBC World Service Trust launches its first FM Radio Soap "Life Gulmohar Style"

The BBC World Service Trust in India announced the launch of its FM radio drama series, designed to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. The 156-part Hindi-language radio drama, entitled Life Gulmohar Style, will be broadcast every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 7:30-7:45 pm,beginning 7th October.

Life Gulmohar Style tells the story of five young people in search of their destiny. It is funny, romantic and serious. The drama deals with a host of issues facing women today, including their sexual and reproductive health, violence, and their roles and responsibilities in a changing India – all in an entertaining way that stimulates listeners to question negative attitudes about women.

Directed by the BBC’s award-winning producer Pervaiz Alam, Life Gulmohar Style will be broadcast onall five of All India Radio’s FM Rainbow stations: Delhi, Mumbai, Jalandhar, Lucknow and Kanpur.

The drama serial is the outcome of extensive research conducted by the BBC World Service Trust that examined how the mediacan be used to address the rising rates of sex selective abortion in India. The 2001 Indian Census revealed a sharp increase in the disparity in the child sexratio, from 976 girls for every 1000 boys in 1961 to 927 girls for 1000 boys in2001. The research concluded that a fictional radio drama is an appropriate andeffective tool to tackle the complex issues surrounding gender inequality.

Yvonne MacPherson, CountryDirector of the BBC World ServiceTrust, added: “Our research shows that if the entertainment media were todepict the positive aspects of modern women, then it could be a force for changein increasing their value. Through Life Gulmohar Style, we want to create a thought-provoking and entertaining dramathat explores the reasons for the devaluation of females anddemonstrates ways in which social pressure can be challenged.”

Commentingon recent media trends in India,Pervaiz Alam, director of Life Gulmohar Style, said, “It’s a sadfact that the genre of radio drama is declining in many countries, including India. But withthe launch of Life Gulmohar Style,arguably India’sfirst FM Radio drama in the form of a long-running serial, we are trying to tapthe newer and younger audiences who are tuning into FM radio.”

Over the course of the year, the BBC World Service Trust will be tracking audiencereaction to the drama on a dedicated website www.lifegulmoharstyle.organd through research it will measure whether the show has had an impact onchanging attitudes towards women. The BBC World Service Trust is the BBC's international charity. It uses media andcommunications to reduce poverty and promote human rights, thereby enablingpeople to build better lives. The BBCWorld Service Trust shares the BBC'sambition to provide accurate, impartial and reliable information to enablepeople to make informed decisions.
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