SINGHA DUBAR II Governance Drama

After three episodes, Singha Durbar II has gained popularity among audiences for showing the importance of good governance, transparency and accountability to the people

Aug. 18, 2018, 1:13 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL 12 No.03, August 17, 2018 (Bhadra 01, 2075) Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

“Tonight on #SinghaDurbar: Nepali migrant workers are protesting in Maraeid demanding better pay, safety & living standards, & release for workers who have been detained. How will PM Asha tackle this issue? To find out, catch the new episode at 8.50 PM tonight on @TelevisionNepal!,” UN Country Team wrote in a tweet on August 12.

Impressed by the second episode of Singhadubar II, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Keshab Badal said that he enjoyed a lot with the actors and their performance to highlight Nepal’s critical political and economic issues.

These two comments are among the views publicly expressed on Singhdurbar II television serial. Supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Search for Common Ground – Nepal, three episodes of Singhdurbar II have already left a good impression among the viewers.

Gauri Malla, a veteran and popular actor, perfectly displayed herself in a role as Nepal’s first reel life prime minister Asha Singh. In her acting, she continues to highlight the political journey of the main protagonist.

Early on, she presented herself as a perfect politician. In the coming series, she will profile how Nepal’s prime minister leads the country to successfully adopt the federal structure as well as related policies and plans.

As the series will also touch upon issues related to federalization; human trafficking; disaster risk reduction and management; and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) rights, there will evolve a more complex nature of the scenario.

Started on July 28th, it will continue for another two months, coming on every week. The 13-episode tele-drama will be aired every Saturday on Nepal Television between 8:50 and 9:30pm.

As the first edition, season two of this popular political drama series was made possible from the support of the American people through USAID. Produced by Search for Common Ground – Nepal and production partner Shubha Media Home Pvt. Ltd, this was the first of its kind drama focusing on contemporary political and governance issues.

According to Search for Common Ground, it has also received financial support from the United Nations Agencies in Nepal as ‘thematic partners’ to advance the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) adopted by Nepal and all other UN Member States.

As Nepal is committed to achieving the SDGs, which align with social, economic and environmental aspirations of the country in the most comprehensive roadmap to 2030, the tele-drama will help promote positive messages amongst the audiences in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Nepal.

The TV series aims to bridge the gap between the people and the government, and aspires to enhance their capacity on issues related to governance and federalism.

Directed by Nabin Subba, the series features actors such as, Ramesh Ranjan Jha, Pramod Agrahari, Ramesh Budhathoki, Alok Thapa, Badal Bhatta, Desh Bhakta Khanal, Prakash Ghimire, Hemanta Chalese, Prabhat Rimal, Suresh Chaudhary, Sabina Gopali, and Rem B.K. The team of scriptwriters consists of Prabin Adhikari, Sampada Malla, and Suraj Poudel, led by Abinash Bikram Shah and Tsering Choden. The scriptwriters were guided by the Executive Producer, Yubakar Raj Rajkarnikar. “We have presented a more humanized character—a Prime Minister who is afraid to fail the expectation of the people, and an ensemble of characters who represent current day leaders and the public,” said Director Subba.

In addition, Singha Durbar season two teamed up with the Nepal America Film Society in the United States to promote the series amongst the Nepali Diaspora living in America and collaborated with Sasto Deal—Nepal’s largest online store, Nana Group of Companies, and Sparrow SMS reached out to diverse audiences through strategic outreach and communications.

“The idea of Singha Durbar is to promote the series as a ‘road map’ for governance and collaborative leadership in Nepal. For that purpose, we partnered with various private sector companies, government line-agencies, and development partners to promote the TV series locally and internationally by engaging the people and elected representatives,” said Bhola Prasad Dahal, Country Director of Search for Common Ground – Nepal.

As Nepal has gone through a major social, political and institutional transformations following the promulgation of new constitution by Constituent Assembly in 2015, there is the need of more collaboration and cooperation among different stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organizations and local people.

This is where there is the need to generate awareness about the importance of such elements of the government. As Nepal is implementing the new constitution with the central, federal and local governments, there are many challenges. In its three episodes, Singha Durbar II has brought three themes, governance, accountability and participation of the people and partnership, migration and collaboration.

There will be 13 episodes in Singha Durbar II and it covers 10 themes. The themes include health, education or right to education, security, migration and employment. Similarly, disaster management, right of minorities and marginalized population, how to reduce food security and hunger, how to strengthen institutions of the state are some of the themes. Singh Durbar II will focus on the role of civil society and how important it is in fulfilling these agenda.

In 1980s, BBC’s yes minister and Yes Prime Minister serials received wide popularity in United Kingdom and all over the world generating the awareness about the lethargic bureaucratic process, governance and political parties.

Although Singha Durbar I and II build on Nepal’s local themes and different circumstances, they are successful to lure the attention of political leaders and common people.

Aired by Nepal Television Channel, the first three episodes draw the attention of various people. “I watched the second and third episodes on migration. This serial helped me understand the ramifications of migration and its consequences at different levels,” said CPN-UML Standing Committee Member Keshab Badal. “If I find time next week, I will definitely watch it,” said Badal.

As Social Development Goals (SDGs) is now one of the major areas of world’s priority, including in Nepal, the serial also touches the areas of SDGs.

“We are leveraging on our expertise in building multimedia projects, facilitating dialogue, and collaborating with local partners to address these challenges and promote nonviolent conflict transformation,” said Bhola Prasad Dahal, PhD, country director of Search for Common Ground Nepal.

Although Singha Dubar II was produced on the basis of Singh Durbar I, Singha Dubar II focused more on implementation of federalism, promotion of good governance and how all three tiers of government, central, federal and local, need to work in collaboration with people. There is a message to how policymakers and political leaders need to address people and their concerns and problems in livelihood effectively. The objective is to create win-win situations for all including political leaders, people and country.

In its three episodes it reached to over 150,000 through YouTube, with over 20,000 reaches in Facebook.

Over the last few years, Nepal’s first female (and fictional) Prime Minister ushered in a new phase of better governance, inclusive democratic participation, and women’s leadership in politics. PM Aasha Singh, the protagonist of our TV show Singha Durbar, became a true pop culture icon in the country, reaching an audience of 6.7 million people — 1 in 4 Nepali citizens.

The serials educate, aware, and inform the public about critical and important laws and policies on governance. The serials also provide information on federal structure.

The serial is designed to build awareness of government processes and foster citizen participation in the political life of the country at a pivotal time in its history. “As Nepal morphs into a federal structure of governance, people’s meaningful participation in making elected representatives accountable and transparent is very important. The mobile application not only educates people, but also inspires them to take up the role of watchdogs for good governance,” said Dr. Dahal.

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