The second season of TED Talks will kick off on Indian television next month, featuring speakers from across India who will share their ideas and innovations. Unlike the first edition which had well-known personalities, TED Talks India: Nayi Baat Season 2 will see 26 Indian change-makers share their journeys. Again, unlike the first season which was telecast only in Hindi, the second one will also be beamed in English, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali on Star Plus, National Geographic Channel, Hotstar and Star World on 2 November. In an interview, TED head Chris Anderson and Sanjay Gupta, country manager, Star & Disney India, talk about the new season and what makes India an exciting place for TED talks. Edited excerpts:

Season 2 has 26 change-makers as speakers. How do you define a change-maker?

Anderson: A change-maker is anyone who dreams of a different future. There is this weird human superpower—the ability to pattern the world in our minds and then re-pattern it to the way we think is better. We describe it by lots of different names like invention, design, innovation, entrepreneurship, having a vision. Lots of people don’t want to be just a spectator in life; they want to shape the future in some way. So, the fact that someone can come up with a different pattern of the future and communicate with others, that’s amazing.

In this season, most of the talks are in the first, broader category of inventors, dreamers, designers, but there are some who are social entrepreneurs, who have set up an organization and they are all in. And we are celebrating them as well in a big way.

Besides introducing the Hindi version, what other changes were made for the TV format?

Anderson: You go to where the minds are. Many people in India speak English and many more speak Hindi. On the longer term, it’s our belief that ideas spread in every direction.

We cannot be serious about our mission of sourcing and sharing ideas across the world if we are primarily English-based. There is so much ingenuity across India and some of it is in minds that think in Hindi. What’s also exciting for us is that, in the long term, we may take some of the best of the series and share it with the rest of the world.

As for adapting to TV format, the amazing thing I found was how determined everyone in the production team has been to respect the original set of format, the original values and importance of sharing ideas.

In a nation that loves its celebrities, how likely are people to watch lesser-known speakers?

Sanjay Gupta: That’s the power of change-makers. This country is full of ideas from both young and old, who have done amazing things and they have not been brought to life. Bringing those stories alive is what will really inspire this country. So, this is why there is a shift from the last time. A lot of effort has gone in identifying these 26 out of hundreds and hundreds of people. Some of these stories are truly amazing, from a 13-year-old girl, who is a scientist, to a 50-year-old woman, who is trying to figure out how life on a different planet could be and how do we adapt for it as a society.

Anderson: You could have a music show, which features pop singers or a music show, which discovers new pop singers. There is trade-off between the two but people will really identify with the second one much more and come to cheer and engage with those people because it could have been them.

At a time when attention spans are shrinking, how do you draw people to TV?

Anderson: The internet and media are so full of distractions that it’s much easier to look at something distracting for 30 seconds than to commit to watching a TED Talk, reading a book or such like. It’s actually one of the reasons I am excited about the TV series because when people watch a talk together in a small group, you get engaged in conversation.

Gupta: I think, powerful stories with purpose have always cut through clutter a lot better.

We are increasingly trying to push stories, which can be exciting but also substantive and purposeful to watch on prime time.

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