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Discovery to air Indian documentary to shore up viewership

MUMBAI: One of the best ways to build viewer cachet is to showcase programmes that are easy for them to identify with. Keeping this in mind, Discovery is stepping up efforts to bolster its Discover India content.

From October, the channel will air around 15 films made by aspiring Indian documentary filmmakers, in the Discover India slot, 8-10 pm, on Saturday.

The channel sources claim that almost 1600 films were received when they invited entries for specials. According to the channel, the criteria for choosing were depth and quality of the research done as well as the entertainment value that the programme had. Therefore, it was important that the filmmakers take a fresh and invigorating approach toward their subject matters.

One of the specials Akash Yodha from Kunal Verma explores the role of the Indian Air Force during the Kargil war. Another special Khallsa is is scheduled to air on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti. Other subjects will include the Kumbh Mela, Indian railways with a special emphasis on Darjeeling.

Indiantelevision.com spoke to a channel spokesperson this morning on the sidelines of a screening ofNefertiti Revealed., which will premiere on 7 September. In order to create awareness and generate curiosity among Indians, about the special on the famous Egyptian queen, front-page ads will appear not just in national but also in regional dailies.

The channel has also held parties for the media fraternity in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. SMS alerts and mailers were also sent to reinforce the message.

As far as the filmmakers whose work was chosen was concerned, the spokesperson hinted that while there was a wealth of content that had been generated through the endeavour the channel might consider commissioning them projects in the near future.

"In November, we will have a major global special World Wedding Day. A marriage in South India will feature. The Discovery crew were in Bangalore in May for over a week shooting the different ceremonies that precede a marriage. Our aim as same as was withWorld Birthday's , to show the thread of commonality in the midst of diverse cultures and traditions" said the spokesperson. " Other countries that will feature include Vietnam, Italy, Brazil, Rwanda and New Zealand."

The spokesperson added that in October a series of specials under the brand Extreme Engineering Challenges would air. The specials will focus on the most complex and demanding of engineering tasks throughout the globe.

"Our focus on India has paid off handsomely. For instance the two-part episode Between Two Worldsthat aired on 26 July saw us become the highest rated international channel for that slot on that day. We managed to beat the likes of Star Movies, HBO. The special dealt with the life of Ravi Shankar and the different phases he went through" the spokesperson added.

The Nefertiti documentary grippingly recalls the days of the queen who would later become a Pharaoh. The scientific elements are lucid and fortunately not boring for the layperson. The story traces the efforts of Dr Joanne Fletcher to identify the mummy she believes is the queen and this is interspersed with stunning footage of actors playing the queen and her family. The parts depicting the conflict between the queen and the Egyptian high priests, which would ultimately lead to Nefertiti's downfall are particularly enthralling and eerie at the same time.

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