The BBC has announced a major new season of programmes across television and radio dedicated to one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, India.
The season will be a celebration of the richness of the landscape and people of the country as well as its culture, art, business and politics.
On BBC One there will be a major exploration of the past, present and future of India through the remarkable story of Kolkata fronted by Sue Perkins entitled Sue Perkins in Kolkata.
On BBC Two the season will go behind the scenes of The World�۪s Busiest Railway Station 2015 in Mumbai with Dan Snow, Anita Rani and Robert Llewellyn and celebrate the glory of India�۪s wild world through the eyes of three special guides, scientist Liz Bonnin, Actor Freida Pinto and Mountaineer Jon Gupta in The Wonders of India. Also on Two is a special new episode of the ground-breaking Asian sketch show, Goodness Gracious Me. BBC Four offers the opportunity to explore Indian culture in more depth with Dr Sona Datta revealing the treasures that have shaped the modern Indian world in Treasures of the Indus, William Darymple unearths the story of the White Mughals whilst the channel is also making Bombay High, a unique documentary musical filmed in Dharavi in Mumbai, the biggest slum in Asia,
Kim Shillinglaw, Controller of BBC Two and Four, says, ���I�۪m delighted to be celebrating the rich and surprising wonders of India across this ambitious season of programmes. On BBC Two, we�۪ll be taking viewers from the absolute highlights of India’s natural world to the inner workings of one of the biggest rail hubs on the planet as well as welcoming back the Goodness Gracious Me team for a special India themed episode with special guest Art Malik. BBC Four offers a wide range of cultural programming including an in-depth portrait of the origins of Indian civilisation and a spectacular musical documentary filmed at a high school in Mumbai.�
Sue Perkins, says, ���At the start of this journey, there were two things I knew about Kolkata: The Black Hole and Mother Theresa. It was a privilege to experience life beyond the clich̩s and to witness the vibrancy, chaos and multi-culturalism of Bengal first hand. I was so taken with it, I’ve even become a cricket fan… (Go Kolkata Knight Riders!)�
Sanjeev Bhaskar, says, “India�۪s movie industry – the largest in the world – has survived and flourished for over 100 years, on a heady mix of three ��M�۪�۪s: Morality tales, Melodrama and Music. From the silent era, through infant independent nation to burgeoning economic superpower, Indian films have consistently found audiences at home but also increasingly, via the diaspora, a significant presence around the world. India�۪s films are one of the great cultural survivors of the modern creative age”.
BBC Radio will also support the season with special India related programming . On Radio 2, Bollywood superstar Shilpa Shetty presents a four part guide to the music and the glamour of the Indian film industry. Over four 60 minute shows launching on Wednesday 2nd September at 22.00, she plays her favourite tracks and tells stories from behind the scenes with some of Bollywood’s biggest stars. All things India will also be reflected throughout R2�۪s daytime output with Chris Evans chatting to major cultural figures; Simon Mayo contemplating the curries of the country; Jeremy Vine exploring the experience of British Asians with an outside broadcast from Leicester; and Jo Whiley fronting an extravaganza celebrating the marvellous music of the Indian subcontinent. The Radio 2 Arts Show hosted by Claudia Winkleman will also showcase the cultural and artistic side of the country with an India Special.
BBC Asian Network will be taking a uniquely futuristic look at the new and emerging cultural themes in Indian cities. Called Future India, the network will present an interview with India�۪s greatest modern composer, AR Rahman, with highlights from a concert at the O2. Future India will also feature a range of specials focusing on the emerging Asian stand-up comedy circuit, Hindi hip-hop culture, bedroom Vloggers and music festival culture across India.
BBC World Service will reflect highlights of the BBC India season and offer a complementary range of radio programmes for global audiences looking at modern India through culture, business and politics. With all eyes on India�۪s dynamic economic growth, BBC World Service will be in India for a week of business programmes including Business Matters which will focus on the people whose daily lives underpin the country�۪s economy. On politics, a special edition of current affairs programme Newshour Extra will explore how the world sees contemporary India, the challenges facing Prime Minister Modi and the momentum for change. BBC World Service will capture the dynamism of Indian culture highlighting India�۪s up-and-coming musical talent as part of our series looking at different global beats and broadcasting direct from Delhi for an India-focussed edition of The Arts Hour. On digital platforms, BBC World Service will involve its audience through social media to showcase Indians sharing their India with the world.