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We, as media people, haven't done enough to give people innovative content, says Shah Rukh Khan

The actor will be seen hosting Ted Talk in Hindi on Star Plus later this month

Uday Shankar, CEO and Chairman at Star India, Shah Rukh Khan and Chris Anderson, Head of TED at the Press Conference for the launch of TED Talks India Nayi Soch on Star Plus

Star Plus is launching TED Talks in Hindi, which will be the first televised version of the popular content format in the world. To be hosted by Shah Rukh Khan, the show will have fine live music playing to add to the flavour of the televised version. TED is a global platform known for spotlighting and spreading powerful ideas that transform how audiences see their world.

The show will be launching later this month. At the same time, Salman Khan is hosting Bigg Boss while Akshay Kumar is also on television through The Great Indian Laughter Challenge.

It has been a long standing discussion of how ready is the Indian audience for content that breaks stereotype, for intelligent content and something that’s not a norm on TV. Shah Rukh Khan differs on this sentiment. “We underrate our audience. This is an excuse that people are not ready for this. We, as media people, haven't done enough to give people innovative content and that’s what they are waiting for. All audience, especially youngsters, will be interested in this,” he said.

Explaining how different is TED, Khan said, “TED was extremely positively curiously and intellectually challenging. I had to present my own eagerness. Also, there is no given format for TED for TV since this is the first time that it is appearing on TV at all. The format retains the essence of TED talks so that it doesn’t deviate from what TED talks are meant for and add some music to it, in a subtle manner.”

When asked about how difficult it is to still be relevant as a 30-year-old brand, he added, “I am fortunate enough for the kind of work that I do. If you are ready to try new things, if you are ready to fail and ready to venture into territories that you don’t know anything about, it will help you build your brand, innovate and know more.”

Uday Shankar, Chairman and CEO, Star India, said, “Regardless of the power and popularity of TED, the one obstacle was language. The people who could not consume and appreciate content in English language and were not globally connected were left out of the benefit. Hence we thought of discussing this with Chris (Anderson) and Juliet (Blake) to help us bring TED to India.”

Shankar added, “I have been a big fan of TED and felt that there is no reason why these ideas should not be made accessible to all Indians in a language of their choice. Television should offer a spectrum of content which includes not just the traditional definition of entertainment but also content that feeds the human passion for knowledge, which stokes curiosity and inspires people. The timing is perfect – India is a young country with big dreams and potential. It is a time when the world is looking to India for the next big idea.”

Refusing to speak on the costing of the show, Shankar said, “A show of this nature and stature requires a lot of effort in picking up the right talent and right people to come to the show and all of this has cost much. But the money becomes the least concern in such a show.”

Fremantle is producing the show for Star Plus. ‘TED Talks India Nayi Soch’ is TED’s first collaboration with a major network to produce a television series featuring original TED Talks in a language other than English. The show will bring some of the best innovators and thinkers of Indian origin to the centre stage. The show captures an eclectic mix of speakers, thinkers and doers who have questioned norms and brought forth cutting edge ideas that have the potential to inspire billions.

Chris Anderson, Head of TED, said, “Combine India’s impressive thinkers and its growing appetite for knowledge along with Khan’s global fan following and Star’s massive reach, and we have a real shot at offering millions of people the empowerment that inspiring speakers can bring. There is a lot of hunger in India for knowledge and the feeling of what more can I do with that knowledge. There are so many people and if we could unlock their minds, it will be great. It’s not about coming to India, it is about carrying these ideas to the world.”

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