Basu upbeat about Star World's 'India's Child Genius'

NEW DELHI: Known for its exploits in the edutainment genre and production of the adaptations of the international formats, Synergy Communications is all set for one of the much-awaited shows India's Child Genius (ICG), scheduled to go on air 16 May on Star World.

Following a hectic selection process and shooting scheduling, Synergy director Anita Kaul Basu, said, "We have just completed a mammoth shoot schedule of ICG. The scale of the series is daunting and it was a challenge to shoot 20 preliminaries of the series in one fell swoop. Despite it being a huge logistical exercise - 16 kids per episode, 7 cameras, special effect lighting, online computer and game software and set changes, the show is looking a million dollars!!"

According to Basu, the essence of the Fox format has been retained with game variations and the elimination process in each episode. 

"We created everything around this basic format. The sets, graphics, opening montage, music, the game software and research. It's a more pacey and exciting show. Other than Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), which was technically and production wise very elaborate, ICG had complexities of a different nature. It's a huge show, big sets and more participants per episode. The format is constantly evolving as the show progresses. It took us a good four hours to shoot each episode."

The content has been developed by Synergy in association with academic experts and Educational Initiatives (EI), who conduct the ASSET evaluation, which is a leading scholastic test in India for students of Class 3-9. 

"One of the major hurdles in the pre-production stage of ICG was the selection procedure. Unlike countries such as the US, India hasn't got a fast track system to spot exceptional and bright kids. Unlike the international Fox format, which is an annual episode with 40 or so participants, here there will be 320 participants. The quiz has been structured into 20 preliminary rounds, four zonal final and two semifinals apart from the final," says Basu.

On kids programming gaining prominence with specialised shows and expected new channels in the kids genre, she said, "I think all Indian channels across the board are realising the need to target the children's segment. For advertisers and marketing people the potential is enormous for targeting this band. There has been very little and perhaps no programming for children barring a few short films and serials. We have to develop edutaining programming for children," she said. 

"ICG is the first instance of a channel coming up with a series so large in scale combined with high production values. Its thrown open an opportunity and provided a forum for children to showcase their talent. Kids of today have a voice, are intelligent and discerning and they need to be heard as well as an adult. They cannot be talked down to and definitely need to exhibit their talent and intelligence on a medium like TV that is so powerful. More power to sane, balanced and intelligent programming for kids of the 21st century!" said Basu. 

On opening up of more avenues with its first production on Star World, Basu said, "We have produced a variety of programmes for Star - from a debate programme A Question of Answers, a science series Eureka, game shows 321, KBC and Kamzor Kadii Kaun. Star has invariably pulled all stops for the success of each and every programme. Their programming, marketing and sales are based on intelligent and sound research. They have been able to look at programming as king and have got in the best in term of producers, technicians and creative people to work on their productions. As far as Synergy is concerned, going onto the Star World banner is an opportunity to work with Star again and in English language programming."

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