Shah Rukh Khan’s TED Talks India to Focus on Unsung Heroes

TED Talks India: Nayi Soch,” hosted by superstar Shah Rukh Khan, launched in 2017 on the Star Plus channel and earned 96 million viewers. Khan is back to host Season 2, titled “Ted Talks India: Nayi Baat.” The new title reflects a change of direction.

“What stands out for us about Shah Rukh is his intellect and his bold stand on issues that really matter to society,” Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager, Star & Disney India told Variety. “He is a youth icon and his success story is something all young and aspirational Indians can learn from.”

The first season, in addition to TED’s usual mix of social achievers and innovators, featured a range of celebrities, including iconic producer Ekta Kapoor, who is currently at the Busan International Film Festival with her film “Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars”; Google CEO Sundar Pichai; Indian media personality Karan Johar; lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar; and the Indian women’s cricket team captain, Mithali Raj.

“Season 2 features the unsung heroes of a new and inspired India,” said Gupta. “It will showcase thought leaders and their game-changing ideas but not many in the media or our audience would have heard of them till now.”

The series has now been confirmed through Season 4.

Speakers this time around include Gitanjali Rao, a 13-year-old inventor with six innovations to her credit; Sharmila Bhattacharya, a senior NASA scientist who uses simple small organisms to understand the effects of the unknown space environment on biology; Trisha Shetty, a social activist who empowers women to act against sexual violence by providing educational, legal, medical and psychological support; and Manoj Kumar, who overcame poverty and climate change with a successful rural agricultural model that can be replicated elsewhere.

“This is a country teeming with innovation,” said Chris Anderson, head of TED. “There is a palpable hunger for knowledge here.”

With an eye on the future, Season 2 has been scaled up. In addition to the Star Plus channel and OTT platform Hotstar, the show will also be seen on the Star World and National Geographic channels. It will be broadcast in five languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu.

“More than half the population is under 25 years old and open to new thinking,” Anderson said. “In fact, it seems that many Indians have a fundamentally optimistic stance. You genuinely believe that you are capable of creating a better future, a refreshing contrast to current attitudes in the West. This means that powerful ideas can fall on fertile ground here. All of this makes us extremely excited at the potential for this series.”

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