MUMBAI: Infotainment broadcaster National Geographic Channel (NGC) has kicked off the year with a slew of local initiatives.
Speaking to Indiantelevision.com NGC VP marketing, communication Debarpita Banerjee notes that the broadcaster started the year with 'Indian Quiz League' which is currently on air.
"We have brought a fresh format of quizzing to the nation. On 4 March, we will bring an insider's perspective on Mahakumbh, covering the scale and exclusive details on what goes behind the making of one of the world's biggest festivals.
The host of the special documentary-'Inside the Mahakumbh', Diego Buñuel , is a seasoned Nat Geo host and former war journalist and it will be interesting for viewers to see him live the essential Indian experience," she says.
Also by the end of March, NGC will bring the next installment of Mission with ‘Mission Covershot' that will pit eight amateur photographers against each other in picturesque Sri Lanka for a chance to be featured on the cover of a Nat Geo Magazine.
"While bringing the best of India has always been a focus for the channel, this year the aim is to up the ante. As far as the
Mahakumb special is concerned, the view of the massive gathering at the Maha Kumbh in Allahabad which can even be seen from space will be screened in a special episode by NGC on 4 March at 10 pm," says Banerjee.
‘Inside the Maha Kumbh' will show the approximately 100 million people intent on just one thing: bathing in a sacred river to wash away sins and gain a chance at a new beginning. Once every 12 years, Hindus from around the world converge at Sangam in Allahabad, at the convergence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers.
This year, up to 100 million people are expected to attend the festival and investigative journalist Diego Buñuel looks to uncover the heart and soul of this extraordinary event as it is happening.
"NGC has obtained extensive access to the event's organisers. So Diego will not only explore the spiritual allure of
this gathering, he will also reveal what it takes to create and maintain the behind-the-scenes infrastructure needed for the Maha Kumbh Mela," says Banerjee.
The culmination of Bunuel's attendance at the World's Biggest Festival: Kumbh Mela will be whether the Juna Akhada, one of the biggest groups of naga sadhus, accepts Diego as one of their own and include him their "royal procession" into the waters of the Ganges. Will the sadhus accept Diego?
"For an internationally acclaimed host like Diego to come down and cover the event goes out to prove how India is central
to our strategy. With the launch of IQL and then Mission Covershot, this year the viewers can look forward to a lot of quality content from National Geographic Channel, both localised and international," says Banerjee.
Asked about how the idea of 'Indian Quiz League' came about, Banerjee points out that the audience shares its enthusiasm for knowledge and its take on all things curious. "Hence it was a natural step for us. Indian Quiz League is a unique game show based on the knowledge pillar of National Geographic, that will test the common knowledge of the contestants in comparison to that of the country. The format has been arrived at, after researching and evaluating what are the best quiz shows around the world and what already exists, and what can be done to add a touch of USP."
The show will test contestants in relation to how the nation fares in answering them in the first segment. Higher the number of people in India who get the answer right, lower the contestant's score. In the second segment, called The master class, the contestant is made to answer questions designed by experts in a certain field. And the third segment is a power play round - with high speed and buzzer.
As far as 'Mission Covershot' is concerned, Banerjee points out that it is much more than a photography competition. "It takes forward our legacy of Mission series and combines it with our strength- photography. Nat Geo, which is reputed internationally for some of the most iconic photographs ever clicked, through Mission Covershot will give participants a chance to showcase their creativity before great judges including leading Indian director Nagesh Kukunoor and award winning American photographer Ami Vitale. It will showcase the best of creativity and the competitive spirit of these 8 contestants making it
a great viewing experiences."