National Geographic is premiering a new series Mega Icons hosted by acclaimed Bollywood actor R Madhavan.
The show employs a unique format to decipher the success stories of different inspiring personalities of India.
Each episode of this new series, would be a journey into the life of an iconic personality, with help of not only intimate interviews of the icons and their families, but also through scientific research and analysis by experts. The aim of the show is, with the help of scientists and expert psychoanalysts, decode whether an icon is born or made.
The list for the series includes cricketer Virat Kohli, politician and actor Kamal Haasan former president of India – APJ Abdul Kalam, spiritual leader and Nobel laureate Dalai Lama, and social activist and India’s first women IPS officer Kiran Bedi.
In conversation with this correspondent, anchor R Madhavan talks about being part of the show, what makes people succesful and his mantras for better life.
What do you believe? Is an icon born, or made?
The concept of the show is to explore and see about these people who are high achievers and what is that something special about them which has made them who they are today. We have analysts, scientists, psychiatrists and other experts who will be analyzing the answers given by these icons or decisions taken by these icons and leave it to viewers to formulate their own opinion whether these icons were born or made.
How was it like shooting for the series?
It was a great learning for me as well and I was convinced to take this up when National Geographic approached me with this project and I thought it was a phenomenal idea to analyse these mega icons and what they actually are. Was it programmed in their DNA or are they product of their conditioning.
I was personally very curious to know what made these icons who they are today. It feels amazing to understand these mega icons on the show and to be a part of this process of unravelling their life journey in an extremely unique format.
In this world of extreme amount of competition, where solutions are very few and arbitrary, it is really important to know how these people dealt with such situations and have become icons.
Why do you believe a handful of people become successful?
In the times of extreme amount of challenges people want to arm themselves with utmost knowledge as they learn about how to sustain success. Studies done for the show make one realise that these icons were not handed over their success and their icon status.
The purpose of this show is to see if whether these icons were born with these qualities or were they made this way with help of in-depth analysis by experts, researchers and scientists.
What is your mantra for success?
I think there is no failure if you have worked hard. Failure is defined when you have not put in the adequate amount of work required. Anything else apart from that is always success. If you know that you have put in your best and the facilities at your disposal in achieving what you want, it itself is a success.
What do you believe makes one successful? Is it pure luck or fortitude?
What makes one successful is very relative, a man who has managed to put his son in college, being a cobbler, is far more successful than a person with higher ability, having his son go to IIT. What makes you successful is your ability to dedicatedly apply towards what you want to achieve and to see how close you get to that achievement.
In your interaction with psychoanalysts, what did you deduce? How much does a person's psyche make on succesful? How important are socio economical factors?
We realised from what we watched that socio economic factor has no barring to the level of success. It gives you better platform but cannot guarantee success. So socio economical platform has little barring to Icons who have all come very average, mediocre or lower mediocre social economic backgrounds.
In a country like India, with its fair share of adversities, what would propel one towards success?
I think that you cannot actually succeed today, unless you are exceptional in what you do. It does not matter which part of the world you go to, as the world is becoming extremely small and global and your competitors are no more local, they are from around the world. The only thing that can guarantee you success is that, if you realize you are not working hard, while working hard on the subject you love the most.