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BW Businessworld

Plays And Characters

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Remember Jasoos Vijay? In 2002, the suave, HIV positive detective first hit our living rooms. His intelligent crime probes went on to become a hit. Produced in association with BBC Media Action (BBC World Service Trust), the Doordarshan serial helped spread awareness about HIV and AIDS among 70 million viewers. Jasoos Vijay was one of the popular examples of using radio-television dramas to push development outcomes such as improved nutrition, conflict reduction, gender equity and so on. Drama For Development, edited by Marie Gillespie, Andrew Skuse and Gerry Power, analyses such serials produced between 1999 and 2010 to track how entertainment can be used for education.

The book, a collaboration between Open University, University of Adelaide and BBC Media Action, has 13 essays. It has 10 interesting case studies from Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Rwanda. From India, apart from Jasoos, there is Life Gulmohar Style (a radio drama on gender equality). Four essays, written by the three editors, are theory-heavy and will put off the reader. That said, Power, who works for InterMedia, has an interesting piece on audience research.

Had the editors cut down on theorising and built more on cases, perhaps personalising them even more, one might have got a far more readable book. It would have been better if the book also included countries such as Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 05-03-2012)

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