Buoyed by the popularity of films and television serials providing socially relevant messages, development communicators have found an effective means in popular media to create awareness among audiences about issues that matter.
Films such as Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par that deals with dyslexia and television serials such as Balika Vadhu, which revolves around the issue of child marriage, highlight the need for incorporating socially relevant messages in mainstream programmes.
"Back in 80s, I made short films to educate people on immunisation, safe motherhood etc. with the Unicef that were quite popular. There is need for a sustained and systematic approach that will happen only if we make these issues part of mainstream programmes," said Vinta Nanda, head, Research Committee at The Film and TV Producers Guild of India, during the 5th International Entertainment Education Conference that was held for the first time in Asia.
The four-day long conference was held in the national Capital (November 17- November 20), and brought on a single platform popular names from film and television industry from across the world.
"What other people wrote and showed changed me. I realised we have the power to create
an aura where those watching our shows tend to put themselves into the shoes of the characters and empathise with their problems," said Christopher Keyser, American writer, who co-wrote Party of Five, a hugely popular soap-opera that broached the topic of drink driving.
Sandra de Castro Buffington, director, Hollywood, health and Society, said, "Surveys done in the past have proved that social and health messages shown on TV and films did trigger behavioral changes."
American medical dramas such as 'ER', 'Grey's Anatomy' etc. have been hugely popular among the audiences not only in but in other parts of the world too.