addition to this, Galli Galli Sim Sim will
be attempting represent the vibrancy of India's multi-culturalism.
"The series will celebrate the similarities and
differences that are part of children's every day
lives," says Turner Entertainment Networks Asia
senior vice president regional ad sales and marketing
and Sesame India project director Soumitra Saha.
series will air on Cartoon Network and Pogo this summer.
This is a joint initiative by Sesame Workshop, Turner
and Miditech. Also, in order to garner a wider reach,
Turner is in talks with Doordarshan to air the series
on DD's terrestrial network.
first season of the series will have 65 half hour
episodes and these will be repeated considerably on
Turner's two kids' channels. Also, plans are in progress
to launch the series in another Indian language next
year. However, the language has not yet been decided
Muppets have been specially created for India - Chamki,
Aanchoo, Googly and Boombah. They portray certain
positive attitudes and have characteristics that are
universal and endearing to all.
is a learner, Aanchoo
a day dreamer, Googly
likes to spend time alone and Boombah
the lion is very health-conscious. "Each of the
muppets has special characteristics that are representative
of Indian kids. The idea is to create characters who
transcend geographical, communal and other distinctions,"
from the four main muppet characters, Galli Galli
Sim Sim residents include human characters representing
different genders, regions and religions. Jugaadu,
likes to find innovative solutions to fix problems
and does not view his disability as a handicap. Basha
Bhaijaan owns a corner store and knows
several Indian languages whereas his wife Dawa
Di, who is from North East India, teaches
Basha Bhaijaan and Dawa Di's son, is an active and
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.
Galli Sim Sim is aimed at serving the 157 million
children under the age of six in India and will support
India's Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (universal access to
education). The primary aim of the show is to make
learning fun and add elements of learning into everything
that is fun - learning to count and read, about real
life situations, about emotions and problems will
all be shown via entertaining and light hearted stories.
of our priorities is to teach basic spoken Hindi to
the kids of India apart from numeric skills, counting
and basic hygiene," says Miditech president Niret
aim of the series will be to build bridges between
urban and rural India by making rural seem cool and
exciting to urban kids and vice versa. "The idea
was to focus on what united children of India rather
than what divides them. What are the issues that kids
are worried about, language and social skills, the
diversity of the Indian culture etc was what we zeroed
in on," Alva added.
most of the muppets have been specially created for
Indian audiences; four popular muppets from the international
version will also make appearances on Galli Galli
Sim Sim. They are: Ernie
(Grover) and Count Von Count
(Count Gilli Sheikh).
chose these four characters from the international
series because they are not culture specific and don't
have cultural nuances. They are also the funniest
and great care has been taken as far as their voice-overs
are concerned. It'd not be just the run of the mill
dubbing. We have adapted them to Indian sensibilities.
For example the muppet called Grover will be a Punjabi
in the Indian series," explains Alva.
specific curriculum has been drafted for Galli
Galli Sim Sim, which will be strictly adhered
to. New stories have been created specifically for
India. "What's exciting about what we've done
is that we've given the animators a chance to create
their own stories and characters using their rich
Indian aesthetic. While they work within the parameters
of the curriculum, they definitely have the freedom
to use their creativity," says Sesame Workshop
executive producer for Galli Galli Sim Sim Nadine
workshops were conducted with the National Institute
of Design, attended by a select group of young adults
18-23 years from all over India. "Our goal was
to infuse a youthful voice into some of the animation.
We talked them through the curriculum and they created
many storyboards for us. We wound up incorporating
seven of their films into the series," Zylstra
specific features that were identified as significant
for creating more civil and humane attitudes
and values among Indian children are:
with different life circumstances living in
abundance and limited resources
respect for different occupations and lifestyles
of ways to bring equal opportunity
and challenging gender roles & rigidities,
responsibilities and possible diffusions
negative stereotypes by learning about commonalties
blends of formal and informal modes of knowledge-building
imagination and joy in discovering and exploring
the world while creating fun and laughter,
generating uniquely Indian humour.
Indian series, like its international counterparts,
has identified some relevant social issues and will
be presenting situations around the same in the series.
To begin with, Turner commissioned Indian educational
experts to write a series of topical papers outlining
practical concerns related to topics of relevance
to children living in India.
was followed by an Educational Content Seminar in
May last year, which brought together over 60 individuals
representing a wide variety of backgrounds and areas
of expertise related to child development and children's
concerns. These advisors included teachers, language
specialists, artists, academics and others,"
importance will be given to rural and urban India
in story representations. "We want one to be
a mirror to the other. The aim is to make sure that
urban kids see rural kids as cool, exciting, dynamic
and different, and something that they want to be
interested in and vice versa. At the same time we
want the things that link kids. Wherever there are
different communities, different groups, there are
some things that kids have in common - a problem you
are dealing with or something you are excited about
or want to be shown, so these are things that we will
definitely do on the show," elaborates Saha.
Bush shakes hands with Googli
rural-urban bridge would be achieved by looking at
games in a different setting and activities that children
do. For example: How cricket is played in different
settings? "I go back to the point that there
are certain universals - play, enjoyment, singing,
music - and we will be linking these universals among
Indian children in different places through different
aesthetic sensibilities, the artform of different
regions, the music, live action films of children
in different settings, taking children to different
areas, going to school etc," he adds.
addition to the TV series, which will launch in mid
2006, Sesame India is also committed to a long-term
educational outreach campaign to reach India's young
children, particularly those most in need. The educational
outreach materials and activities will reinforce the
educational potential of the series and promote public
awareness; preview key messages and ways children
can benefit from the show; and provide tools and information
on various platforms that are accessible to parents,
caregivers, and early childhood focused NGOs and educators.
informs that this initiative would be through television,
alternative distribution strategies and educational
outreach to villages and slums, supported by print
project the size of Sesame Street obviously comes
with a bagful of challenges. The biggest challenge
that the parties involved faced was the sheer cultural
diversity of our country. "This is one of the
reasons why it was a tedious task for us to identify
the needs of kids in this country and then create
a show that would relate to these children,"
other challenge, Alva points out, was that of finding
people who were genuinely passionate about working
on this project. "To find a team of writers,
animators and voice-over artists and have them all
under one roof was one of the other challenges that
we faced. The entire process was highly dynamic and
creative. It was like a three way complicated marriage
between Turner, Sesame and Miditech," Alva says.
addition to teaching basic cognitive skills, such
as literacy, Galli Galli Sim Sim will represent
the vibrancy of India's multiculturalism The series
will celebrate the similarities and differences that
are part of children's every day lives.
Bush and Nafisa Ali with the 'Galli Galli Sim
content seminar helped us a great deal in identifying
five broad curricular objectives that embody the India
Statement of Educational Objectives for Sesame India,
which are: cognition, emotion, physical well being,
social relations and culture," informs Saha.
stimulating and enriching mental functions
- This section highlights objectives related to the
stimulation of the mental functions such as literacy
and communication, mathematics, intuition, thinking
and reasoning and creativity.
sharing and nurturing - This goal area concerns objectives
such as recognising emotions and coping with emotions.
body care and safety - Objectives highlighted here
include relate to basic health practices and safety,
including good hygiene and traffic safety.
independence and interdependence - This area concerns
objectives that relate to modeling positive relationships,
such as basic interactions, friendship, conflict resolution
and caring for common facilities and spaces.
harmonising diversity - This section is oriented towards
objectives that relate to embracing diversity, including
culture and the arts, ethnic variability and bridging
diversity, forging unity.
the Indian context, the fifth section - Culture -
is unique to India in the Sesame Street scheme
of things. "The requirement for such a section
was thrown up for the first time at the India content
seminar. More importantly, Sesame globally was very
impressed with the importance and relevance of such
a section and hence they are planning to include the
same in the curricula for other Sesame projects across
the world," says Saha.
Galli Sim Sim will have a mix of live action and
original animation programming and the production
of the series is handled by a robust team. Miditech's
Prakash Moorthy is in charge of the in-house team
of animators in Delhi.
Anshuman Misra with Dr Asha Singh and Niret
educationalist DR Asha Singh is the education and
research director for Galli Galli Sim Sim and
has played a very important role in developing the
curriculum for the series.
vice president Pria Somiah is the supervising producer
for Galli Galli Sim Sim. Umesh Bist, Soumitra
Dasgupta and Bhavya Nidhi Sharma are segment directors,
whereas Samir Chanda has been responsible for building
the expansive sets of Galli Galli Sim Sim.
Dhingra is the director of photography and the head
writer for the show is Sehba Imam.
music for the series has been composed by Julius Packiam,
whereas Paramangsu Mukherjee is in charge of live
animators are trained in a variety of styles that
are reflected in the series. We made a conscientious
effort to reflect these styles so there is a good
mix of stop motion, 3D, classic line drawings, oil
on glass, paper cut outs, and so on," informs
conscious Boombah greets Laura Bush
Sesame Street muppets actually take to the
road and perform for kids in live shows, which are
a huge success. Once the show launches in India, it
is likely that Turner will be exploring these opportunities
too. However, Saha declined to comment on the same.
"At the moment we are focusing on the launch
of the show in mid 2006 and have nothing to announce
at the moment," he said.
terms of merchandising and licensing around the show
too, there are huge opportunities. Games, toys, learning
material, books etc are some of the products that
have been successful internationally. The home video
market is yet another area waiting to be tapped via
Galli Galli Sim Sim. But the Indian aim at
present is to launch the show.
series has been a runaway success in almost all the
countries it has been launched in and given the extensive
research and dedication that has gone into for the
Indian adaptation of the same, it is sure to repeat
its success story in India too.