TED Talks India Nayi Soch Review: Innovators are the stars, not Shah Rukh Khan

Dec 12, 2017, 09:24 IST | Letty Mariam Abraham

TED Talks India premier on TV made it clear that good ideas don't need superstars

Shah Rukh Khan returns to try his luck with television hosting with TED Talks India Nayi Soch, a problem-solving chat show that premiered last night. TED was launched in 1985 as an exchange for ideas conference and has been held annually since 1990, first in Long Beach and then Vancouver, with the best minds in science, design, culture and academics sharing game changing ideas. The talks were available for everyone to view online, but with TED Talks India helmed by SRK, host channel Star Plus hopes to present ideas that can change India, to the television viewing masses.

Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan

The mixed bag of engineers, authors and scientists, among others, offered interesting insights on the opening day. But, the man who
appeared to be underutilised was Shah Rukh Khan. While the makers hoped to bank on the actor’s charm and wit, his puns failed to inspire laughs. Although Khan’s interruptions could have added interest to the slow-paced show, he appeared to bring little to the table.

The six speakers certainly emerged as the stars. A select few even managed to have people on the edge of their seats throughout the six minutes that they had on hand to speak. Human-settlement expert, Dr Gautam Bhan opened the show by highlighting the importance of upgrading city slums. He referred to it as a settlement that should not be “bulldozed over”. Next up, promoting greenery was engineer Shubhendu Sharma, who spoke about studying soil, creating compost that maintains moisture and setting up a jungle that was thick enough to prevent sunlight from passing through it, within two years. Manu Prakash, a scientist and bio-engineer, spoke about the futility of offering countries that struggle to have full-time electricity, with high-cost medical equipment. He chronicled how his low-cost microscope could help. Among the highlights were Anirudh Sharma with his invention, Air Ink, which controls pollution by making ink and ink-based products from the soot-based gaseous effluents generated by vehicles. Author Manju Kapur, whose book, Custody inspired Ekta Kapoor’s TV show, Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, and music director Sneha Khanwalkar, who used technology to create an invisible music zone, ended the show on a high note.

However, the entertaining conclusion could do little to salvage the entire show, which failed to keep us hooked throughout its one-hour runtime. We aren’t certain if keeping the best presentations for the last was wise. A series that gives innovative minds a platform should be enthralling, but Nayi Soch had several dull moments. The makers would benefit by finding the means to uplift the energy. Then again, we aren’t certain if they are convinced about their offering, given that it airs at the unfavourable slot of 7 pm to 8 pm Sunday slot, when much of India is out of home enjoying the weekend.

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Did you know Shah Rukh Khan anchored a musical show in his younger days?

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