Deriving the happiness quotient

Dhanya Varma

Dhanya Varma   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Dhanya Varma on her show The Happiness Project on Kappa TV hitting a century with 100 guests

Dhanya Varma has scored a perfect 100 and her happiness knows no bounds. Well, when one is anchoring a talk show called The Happiness Project, the happiness has to spill over into the lives of the participants as well. Dhanya, hostess of the show on Kappa TV, which began in October 2017, has hosted 100 guests in her programme, all of which revolved around one’s definition and pursuit of happiness.

Sharing experiences

“It has been a learning experience that has given me innumerable takeaways. Many of the guests, young and old, newcomers and veterans, have had deep, insightful views to share and each brought in a different USP to the show,” she says.

It was not only the celebrities who had nuggets of wisdom to share with the viewers. There were pioneers, leaders and survivors, all achievers in one way or the other.

“For instance, visually challenged Tiffany Brar is not all that well-known to our viewers. We showcased her and her story of courage and it was one of our popular episodes. There was so much one could learn from her. In the same way, Uma Preman has been and continues to be such an inspiration. Her indomitable courage and determination have touched the lives of so many people,” says Dhanya.

Conceptualised by Sumesh Lal, content head of Kappa TV, the show has a mix of celebrities and bravehearts from different walks of life. Hosted by Dhanya with a great deal of grace, her style of conversation and questions put the guest at ease while they discuss myriad aspects of happiness. “Each guest has his/her happiness quotient. Young actor Kalidas Jayaram pointed out how important it was to spare at least one hour every day for your body. Apparently, his personal physical fitness instructor had impressed him with this simple explanation on the importance of fitness. I thought it was a piece of advice all of us could use. It was such an interesting insight on happiness,” she says over the phone from Kochi, where the full-time, hands-on mother of two lives.

Refusing to choose a favourite among her guests, she says it would not be fair because all the guests are special and have some kind of inspirational quality or the other. So, how are the guests chosen? “We should feel like talking to them and getting to know them better,” pat comes the answer.

So there was Harish Sivaramakrishnan, lead vocalist of Agam, smiling from ear to ear while talking about the day his daughter was born. That, he said, was the happiest, moment in his life.

Then there was writer P. Balachandran talking about his tryst with happiness, actor-model Kani reflecting on what keeps her inner light aglow, Nimisha Sajayan on her choices and so on. “V.K. Prakash was another delightful speaker. He says he is able to juggle so many projects because he never wastes time mulling over things. There is so much of positivity and energy about him,” she recalls.

The only time Dhanya thought she had stumbled was while conversing with musician Shahabaz Aman.

“It was on a very different level. Although I greatly enjoyed the episode, I wondered how viewers might take it. Later, I was pleasantly surprised when I won a lot of compliments for that particular episode,” she recalls, obviously pleased with the end result.

She says it is a special privilege to be invited into the personal spaces of the guests. Unlike other interviews where the focus might be on work, family and other issues, in this show, the guest permits viewers to take a peek into his inner self and his mindscape.

So, where does the show go from here?

“Wait and watch!” she laughs, signing off on a happy note.

(The Happiness Project is telecast on Saturdays at 9.30 pm and on Sundays at 10 am)

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 9:35:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dhanya-varma-on-featuring-100-guests-on-her-talk-show-the-happiness-project/article24151514.ece

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