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Rajani inspires govt's consumer awareness show.

MUCH before cable TV made inroads into our daily routine and the likes of Satyamev Jayate found resonance with our harried psyche, there came about a housewife who with her doses of wisdom made instant connect with a generation of television viewers.

It was the golden age of Doordarshan and Basu Chatterjee's tele- serial Rajani , played by the quintessential Priya Tendulkar, dealt with social evils in her inimitable style that caught people's fancy in the mid- 1980s.

From domestic violence to corruption, maladministration to social malaise, Priya as Rajani tackled them with aplomb. Her messages, woven into everyday, real- life situations, struck a chord with the nation.

Now some three decades after Rajani , the Union ministry of consumer affairs is planning to use the 80s show as an inspiration for its foray into television. The ministry is planning to bankroll a series based on real cases of consumers who fought for their rights.

Take for instance the story of a young Delhi couple. Their infant son allegedly contracted HIV at a government hospital where they had gone for a ' simple' medical procedure. The couple spent the next 14 years fighting a case of medical negligence before the state consumer forum which ultimately decided in their favour and awarded them damages of ` 10 lakh and asked for strict action against the erring officials.

This and more such real life stories of consumer woes could find their way into the tele- serial. With an existing advertisement budget of around ` 100 crore, the consumer affairs ministry wants to use the small- screen to " enlighten and empower" the Indian consumers about their rights.

Expected to run between 36 and 52 weeks in its first season, the show will focus on stories from sectors such as medical, automobile, insurance and travel -- areas from where consumer redressal forums receive a significant number of complaints. " Rajani was an ideal show, telling engaging stories to the people about existing social ills. That's what we want to do on the consumer front and also hope that it will be value- for- money," a senior ministry official said.

The ministry has got in touch with three or four popular TV serial producers and told them to prepare their ' showplan' with broad storyboard and script idea.

They will submit their ideas to a committee with representatives from the National Film Development Corporation of India ( NFDCI), Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity ( DAVP) and the consumer affairs ministry.

Pankaj Agrawala, secretary in the department of consumer affairs confirmed the plan.

" Our intention is to ensure that the consumer awareness increases. We believe that a teleserial will be a very effective way of letting people know about their rights," Agrawala said.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 27, 2013
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