A fan takes a selfie while watching on television the special edition of 'Man Vs Wild' series hosted by Bear Grylls (L), going on a mission with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AFP)
A fan takes a selfie while watching on television the special edition of 'Man Vs Wild' series hosted by Bear Grylls (L), going on a mission with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AFP)

PM Modi breaks stereotypes with Discovery show

  • 'If this (programme) can be considered a vacation then this is my first in 18 years,' PM said to Bear Grylls on 'Man vs Wild' show
  • Modi also used the show as a means to reach out to his supporters and followers

New Delhi: In an effort to break stereotypes of a politician and reach out to the youth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday evening appeared on television series Man vs Wild that airs on Discovery TV. Modi is the first politician from India to appear on the hour-long show with Bear Grylls.

The trailer for the programme was launched on the same day that Modi released India’s tiger count. The shooting for the hour-long programme took place at the Jim Corbett National Park which is known for tiger conservation.

"When people see this, people from all around the world would want to come to India…this will help promote tourism in the country," said Modi at the end of the show.

Modi also spoke about his life as a child in Vadnagar in Gujarat and his days in the Himalayas when he left home at the age of 17.

"I was chief minister for 13 years, it was also a journey and experience. And then I became Prime Minister. If this (programme) can be considered a vacation then this is my first in 18 years," the PM added.

Interestingly, Modi also used the show as a means to reach out to his supporters and followers. He asked for suggestions on conservation of forests in the country and said those whose suggestions get selected would get an opportunity to meet Modi and present their ideas to the PM. People have been asked to send their suggestions on NAMO App.

Lulu Raghavan, brand expert and managing director, Landor Associates, termed it as a brand-building mastertstroke from the “masterbuilder" -- a new attribute of the PM, and an extension of the image he has sought to establish beyond hardline politics.

“The series showcases Modi as young at heart and adventurous which are two important buzzwords for a country majority of whose population is the youth," said Harish Bijoor, brand expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Among those who have also appeared on the show with Bear Grylls are former US President Barack Obama, and American actors like Will Ferrell, Zac Efron, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Stiller.

The PM has already established sustained images as a hardline politician, a hardworking leader and an honest and incorruptible man, Bijoor said. Modi’s appearance in the Discovery show, and interviews with actor Akshay Kumar and censor board chief Prasoon Joshi, besides his radio programme Mann Ki Baat are meant to achieve a 360 degree orientation to the soft brand building exercise.

It presents the PM in a humane, relatable way, and is a brilliant initiative to invite people to come and visit India, Raghavan said.

The special episode shot along with host Bear Grylls premiered simultaneously on 12 Discovery channels in India -- Discovery Channel, Discovery HD World, Animal Planet, Animal Planet HD World, TLC, TLC HD World, JEET Prime, JEET Prime HD, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Kids and DTamil. The premiere on Discovery and Discovery HD World, and in five languages, including English, Bengali, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

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