Santhosh George Kulangara
|Occupation||Managing Director, Safari TV, Labour India Publications|
|Known for||World travel|
Santhosh George Kulangara is an Indian entrepreneur, traveller, publisher and media person. He is the founder and Managing Director of Safari TV, a channel dedicated to travel and history-based programmes, which is a unique experiment in the Indian media industry. Some of the other enterprises he heads are Labour India Publications Ltd. based at Marangattupilly in Kottayam district, Labour India Educational Research Centre, Labour India Software Laboratories, Labour India Rural Employment Program and Pondshore Resorts Private Ltd., an initiative in the heritage tourism sector.
Born to V. J. George Kulangara and Rosamma Gerorge at Marangattupilly in Kottayam District, Kerala as their eldest son, he entered the media field after doing post-graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Madurai Kamaraj University. He started off his journalism career in 1992 by making telefilms and documentaries for various television channels. Soon he assumed the leadership of the Labour India Publications Ltd., at a young age of 25. As the largest educational publishing house in Kerala, Labour India today regularly brings out 36 different journals and magazines for students. Santhosh launched the exploration channel Safari TV in 2013 and now functions as its Chief Explorer and Managing Director. He is married to Soncy and has two children; Sharika and George.
As the Chief Explorer of the Safari TV, he almost single-handedly produces the signature programme of the channel, Sancharam, the first visual travelogue in Malayalam, which makes it distinct. As a solo traveller, Santhosh takes the viewers through the cities and villages of nations around the globe showcasing the history, people's lives, the uniqueness of nature, traditions and culture. He has already travelled to more than 130 countries spread across Asian, African, Australian, American, European continents and Antarctica during the last 22 years. The programme, which was initially telecast by Asianet channel from 2001 to 2012, has already crossed 1700 episodes. As a programme produced by a single person – Santhosh travels, shoots and edits the episodes, all by himself - it has entered the Limca Book of Records because of this uniqueness.
First Indian Space Tourist
Santhosh, in a very rare achievement, has become the first Indian to be included among a highly select group of 'space tourists' who will make a suborbital trip in a spaceship as part of a space tourism initiative of the UK-based company Virgin Galactic. He was selected for the trip in 2007. The Space Ship Two, the vehicle that will take them to outer space, is undergoing test flights. As and when the spaceship makes the real trip, Santhosh will be eligible for the 'first Indian space tourist' title.
Santhosh has also directed and produced an English movie, Chandrayaan, based on the story of Chandrayaan-1, India first lunar probe. The movie portrayed everything, including the behind-the-scene activities of the mission which helped India earn an honourable position in the exclusive 'Lunar Club'. The Rocket Assembly Building at Sriharikota, the Rocket Launch Pad, Mission Control Centre, Spacecraft Assembly Building, PSLV Rocket and Chandrayaan spacecraft were all recreated on the sets set up at the Labour India Film and TV studios for the purpose. The chief architects, who worked behind the actual Chandrayaan project, are the main characters of the film. Chandrayaan is the first space fiction feature film made in India. Santhosh has also produced a number of tele films and documentaries which include Samayam, Acharya, Maluvinte Lokam and Krishnagatha.
Santhosh George Kulangara has written seven books related to his travels and experiences around the world. These books, written in Malayalam, have received wide acceptance and appreciation.
- Natashayude Varna Balloonukal (The Colourful Balloons of Natasha)
This is a travelogue of his journey through Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark in a winter season.
- Oru Rabbiyude Chumbanangal (The Kisses of a Rabbi)
A narrative of his journey through 50 countries, the people he met on the way and his experiences.
- Ground Zeroyile Gayakan (The Musician at Ground Zero)
This narrative describes his extensive journey through the various states of the US and Canada. It also describes the life of people in America, after the 9/11 terror attack.
- Zero Gravity
This book describes his experiences during the zero gravity training conducted in a specially designed aircraft at Kennedy Space Center-Florida.
- Baltic Diary
This is a narrative of his journey through the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland. This book describes the scenario in these countries after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Thoughts on how to implement the world class progressive development concepts in Kerala.
- Spacilekku oru train yatra (A Train Journey To Space)
This book describes the events that led to his decision to become the first space tourist from India and his travel experiences across different countries.
Awards and honours
Santhosh George Kulangara has won several awards and honours, including the Kerala Sahitya Academi Award for Best Travelogue (2012). He is also a recipient of awards such as Asian Television Award for the director of the best television programmes, K.R. Narayanan Award instituted by the K.R. Narayanan Foundation in memory of Mr. K.R. Narayanan- former President of India, Kerala Film Critics Award for the best Television programme director, Yuva Pratibha Award for the year 2004 for his varied contribution in the field of television by the Indian Junior Chamber, Souparnikatheeram Mini Screen Award for the best director of non-fictional television programmes, Outstanding Young Indian National Award instituted by JCI India, Rotary Star of the Year 2007 award, All India RAPA Award instituted by Radio and TV Advertising Practitioners Association of India, National Film Academy Award etc.
He visited the former President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who gave him a few tips for his space journey. Santhosh George Kulangara was advised by the president to see to it that the children of the nation were benefited by his experiences.
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