Television

Indian version of Sesame Street to debut June-July

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NEW DELHI: Get ready to go on an adventure with some new furry and fun friends as Galli Galli Sim Sim, the Indian version of Sesame Street, is likely to go on air around June-July this year.

With 65 episodes of 30 minutes each, the first season of the localized version of the award-winning children's series Sesame Street will make its home in India.

According to Miditech president Niret Alva, "The project is a three-way marriage amongst Turner Broadcasting (managers of CNN and Pogo), Sesame Street New York and Miditech." However, Miditech refused to spell out the details of economics, which entails animation.

Shooting has commenced on location for Galli Galli Sim Sim, and the series will debut this year on leading kids' channels Cartoon Network and Pogo. Mafias Ali, Chairperson, Children's Film Society, India inaugurated the Galli Galli Sim Sim set at Film City, Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi, today.

Joining the four colourful Muppet characters Chamki, Aanchoo, Googly and Boombah, who were unveiled in December, Galli Galli Sim Sim residents include human characters representing different genders, regions and religions.

Lead characters include Jugaadu, who likes to find innovative solutions to fix problems, and does not view his disability as a handicap; Basha Bhaijaan, who owns a corner store and knows several Indian languages; his wife Dawa Di, who is from North East India, and teaches dance and Kabir, Basha Bhaijaan and Dawa Di's son, who is an active and curious eight-year-old.

Other key characters include Col. Albert Pinto and his wife, Rukmini (Doctor Aunty). Col. Pinto, a retired army person, is an advocate for healthy living and civic sense. Rukmini, a doctor by profession, is a combination of contemporary and traditional wisdom.

Based on extensive research with local educators, child development experts, artists, and producers, each of the characters have Indian nuances both in their physical appearances, as well as their personalities.

In addition to encouraging young children to learn basic and cognitive skills, the neighbourhood friends will represent the vibrancy of India's multi-culturalism ---celebrating the diversity that is a part of children's every day lives.

Martin Robinson, the chief muppet trainer of Sesame India, whose come from New York, said that it's been an enriching experience as India has a "rich cultural background of puppeteering."

The overall series is designed to promote the joy of learning, appreciation of cultural strengths and fostering an understanding across differences is one of the five curricular theme areas (along with cognitive, emotional, social, and physical) for the project. Studio and animation segments will depict a variety of art forms and foster cultural appreciation.

Various music styles will be featured in the series as well. And vibrant live action films showing children from different parts of the country will showcase activities from all walks of life.

"Having successfully established two kids' channels in India, we have no doubt that Galli Galli Sim Sim will also appeal to young kids and become a part of every kid's life. Drawing on the resources of a highly talented Indian production team, and combined with Turner and Sesame Workshop's expertise, Galli Galli Sim Sim will be a unique television series that will be truly Indian, and engage and stimulate young minds as well," said Turner International India Pvt Ltd MD Anshuman Misra.

"We are making a bold run at engaging the tens of millions of young children in India around important educational messages to begin them on a lifelong love of learning," said Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop.

"This collaboration with Turner and Miditech, recognized and renowned experts in kids' television and television production respectively, will ensure that we reach that goal," she added.

Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit educational organization making a meaningful difference in the lives of children around the world. Founded in 1968, the Workshop changed television forever with the legendary Sesame Street.

Today, the Workshop continues to innovate on behalf of children in 120 countries, using its proprietary research methodology to ensure its programs and products are engaging and enriching. Sesame Workshop is behind award-winning programs like Dragon Tales, Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat, Pinky Dinky Doo and groundbreaking multimedia productions in South Africa, Egypt and Russia.

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