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Content guide: Delving into the stories and challenges faced by Indian families

Updated on: 23 June,2024 07:16 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sanjeevni Iyer |

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Content guide: Delving into the stories and challenges faced by Indian families

A still from Family Aaj Kal by Civic Studios

Civic Studios, makes content related to civic issues

In an age where woke culture, technology, and social media take prevalence, Civic Studios, a production house in Mumbai, wished to redefine storytelling through their well-researched, authentic, and empowering focus on the civic issues of the country. “Incubated as an idea at the MIT Media Lab in the US by Anushka Shah, Civic Studios explores how media and technology can be used as tools for empowering citizens and strengthening democracy,” said Roohi Bhatia, the director of strategy & operations  at Civic Studios. A prominent example from their projects, is Family Aaj Kal, a Tv show navigating through the struggles of a family in today’s times. “Our productions follow a very rigorous research on the back-end, involving both qualitative and quantitative research methods like on-ground expert interviews, opinions from legal service providers, nation statistics, and direct narratives from the affected communities. Unlike traditional marketing strategies, we also ensure that our campaigns are taken back to the communities on the ground, sparking an impact and conversation around our stories,” adds Bhatia.
Civic Studio is primarily self-funded through its screenings, and long-form offerings, but also engages in strategic partnerships, with brands and companies. Speaking on the future and impact of such narratives, Bhatia believes that the audiences are far more interested and aware of the issues than we give them credit for. “Such content can move people on a personal level and create a lasting change.  Moreover, I believe people today have the appetite for more nuanced, authentic stories that offer a fresh, unseen perspective on the world around them beyond the obvious,” Bhatia says. 

Much Much Spectrum, makes content related to differently-abled

What originally started as an advertising and media agency, Much Much Media, a Mumbai-based content studio, today believes in narrating stories that break the stereotypes associated with disabilities while making them fun and entertaining for the audience. “We started Much Much Spectrum in  2022  to demystify health conditions through lived experiences of people who live with disabilities, neurodivergence, and health conditions,” said co-founder Aditi Gangrade, a neurodivergent herself, over a call. One of their prominent projects was Life as an entrepreneur with Down Syndrome, a docu-short that focused on the challenges and triumphs of Aditi Verma, an entrepreneur with Down Syndrome, who run a café in Mumbai. Started along with her husband, Aalap Deboor, Much Much Spectrum’s projects are often funded through brand collaborations and global community engagements. Speaking about the impact of such content on people, Gangrade adds, “The stigma around neurodivergence and mental health was huge. But I believe that with more and more people creating content, fresh and affirming perspectives on disabilities and mental health emerge, making the masses more open and aware of such disabilities.” 

Kevin Lee and Roohi BhatiaKevin Lee and Roohi Bhatia

Yuvaa, makes content related to the youth 

Delving into the stories and challenges faced by the youth, especially the GenZ of today, Yuvaa, a youth-driven media company talks about issues related to youth empowerment, mental health, gender, sexuality, internet safety, and others. “From the insights that we garnered, we believe that the GenZ genuinely cares about the social issues in their surroundings and usually compares them to the information garnered online. So, with the intent of standing for these issues that they care about, Yuvaa was created,” said Kevin Lee, the Chief Executive Officer of Yuvaa. Narrating the perspectives of these youngsters in their voices, their projects are essentially based on primary interactions in college campuses and online communities. An example of one such project was Gray, a short film in collaboration with Amazon Mini, that delved into the journey of a 20 year old understanding the meaning of consent along with her therapist. Along with this, they also partner with multiple NGOs and organisations like UNICEF, Sangat, Leher, and others with whom they create content and seek expert advice on their projects. “Our projects are essentially a culmination of self-funding, grants from philanthropies, partnerships, and brand collaborations,” Lee concludes. 

Star Hopper, makes content related to LGBTQ+ community

Started by trans, non-binary filmmakers Asawari Jagushte and Varsha Panikar, Star Hopper is an award-winning, trans-led film production company with a primary focus on creating and curating narratives that are brown, queer, and women-led. “We believe that films have a great influential power, which if used in the most efficient and impactful way, they can be a tool for change,” said Asawari over a call. Moreover, they make their projects profitable and sustainable through efficient collaborations. For instance, After so Long is a visual poetry depicting the journey of a queer BIPOC artist, named Simha.  “Our stories are focused on creating an open space for people,  to engage and thrive within the narratives,” Asawari concludes.

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