Discovery boosts India centric content with more variety

MUMBAI: Infotainment channel Discovery's aim this year is to forge a closer viewer connect through more local content. To achieve this it has increased the Discover India block from one hour to two hours.

This sees two different documentary specials airing back to back every Saturday from 8-10 pm with a repeat on Sunday from 9-11 am. A channel spokesperson points out that the aim is to bring in more diversity into the content. The channel, from September to December will showcase programmes on a variety of themes ranging from Aids to Kashmir to successful people in Mumbai.

Coinciding with the World Aids Day in December, it will air the special Highway in My Veins, which will tell the personal story of truck drivers who are affected by the menace of Aids. They spend a lot of time away from their families and so some of them seek refuge in drugs. 14 million truck drivers carry millions of tons of cargo from one part of India to another. They are the lifeline for many Indians but they have to deal with oppressive and dangerous conditions each day of their lives.

Non-literacy, lack of healthcare and difficult conditions contribute to their high-risk behaviour. Combined with the statistics of road accidents this has given them the stigma of being carriers of death rather than carriers of life.

An animal themed special that will air is called Cherub Of The Mist. In the Kangchenjunga range the Cherub uncurls its innocent face with white markings, cat like whiskers and long racoon like tail in the misty mountains of the Singalila National Park.

The show has footage from a Panda's life. The aim is to unravel the mystery behind the secretive life of the little cherub and bring alive to the worldwide viewers the irresistible charms of the fire cat. The show marks the debut directorial venture by wildlife film-maker Naresh Bedi's son. The special won the Vatavaran Awards for wildlife films in 2005.

A special that looks at Kashmir through the eyes of a young man is called Floating Lamp Of The Shadow Valley. The protagonist Arif is the youngest boatman on the Dal Lake. Each day he toils to earn the living in strife-torn Kashmir.At 10 he is the sole bread-winner for his family of five. Abandoned by their father, a runaway militant, now an unemployed drug addict, Arif and his family live under perennial shadow of tyranny. Through Arif this documentary examines the state of Kashmir and the awakening of hope.

Mumbaiites would be interested in Merchant Princes Of Bombay. The merchant princes that Discovery deals with are Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, who dominated the so-called China (read opium) trade; David Sassoon, who owned the most powerful trading house in the Orient; Premchand Roychand, whose home came to be labelled "a miniature stock exchange"; and another legendary Jamsetjee, Jamsetji Tata, who ushered the Industrial Revolution in India.

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