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Why Aamir and ‘Satyamev Jayate’ work for India

By Shomini Sen | Last Updated: Sunday, May 6, 2012 - 14:07
Shomini Sen
Random Blues

Sunday morning TV viewing is not the most exciting. The airtime is dominated by mythology or re runs of reality shows of Saturday night. And then, there are those shows about travelling and food on various lifestyle channels. But nothing which can guarantee a regular viewership to any of the channels.

Which is why when Aamir Khan’s show was slated for the morning slot, I wondered how many people would watch it regularly. Plus, the preachy, self righteous ads of the new show kind of put me off a bit. But, perhaps out of sheer curiosity, this Sunday I woke up early to watch what Aamir had in store for us.

I’ll be honest. I had some pre-conceived notions in my head when I started watching ‘Satyamev Jayate’. I knew it would be preachy, but was unsure of the extent. I knew that the opening shot would have Aamir staring into the distance talking about hope and humanity, and well, the actor did just that. And yes, the initial shots were, well, very predictable.

But in spite of having the predictability quotient present throughout the show, Aamir and his team manage to score. And one and a half hours really flew! So much so, that my parents who initially were busy doing the usual Sunday morning chores at home, left their work and got engrossed in the show.

They couldn’t have chosen a better topic for the first episode. Female foeticide and the persistent demand of wanting a male child in the Indian society has always evoked strong emotionally charged debates and discussions. SJ also aimed at that, and well succeeded. From talking to three different victims who had faced problems at the hands of their in-laws only because they had failed to produce heir apparent to the vegetable vendor Bharti on the streets of Ahemdabad who proudly showed her chubby baby girl to the camera to the journalists of Rajasthan who were embroiled in a long court battle for conducting a sting operation on state doctors involved in the heinous crime of killing female foetuses, the show showed all perspectives.

What I liked the most was that the show not only showcased the problem but also gave a brighter side of the story- that there were certain people in the society who were trying to break the norms, fight it out with the world.

The issue has been dealt before on television. Several articles, conferences, debates- everything has taken place. So why was this episode of SJ special? Simply because of Aamir Khan. Aamir and his ‘jargons’ work in a society which is driven by emotions. And surely the impact that a film star or a cricketer has on the people of the country, no journalist or a social worker can ever have.

Now for the spoilers. If the show was that close to Aamir’s heart and he was genuinely concerned for gnawing issues of the country, he perhaps could have not charged Rs 3 crores for each of the episode. In fact had he done it for a lesser amount or dare I say, for free, the USP of the show and seriousness of the issues would have gone up a lot. Aamir would have really become a demi god and could have easily shut the mouths of his critics. Also, the show kept showing TV audience and Aamir breaking into tears throughout. At some places, yes the reactions seemed genuine, but in certain places they looked staged.

Cynicism kept aside, it isn’t easy to keep the audience glued for good 90 minutes. And Aamir managed to do just that on his first day on Television.

No show can bring change in the society. But it can evoke positive reactions which can help the society in taking positive steps in the future. And when you have one of the country’s biggest star to convey the message, <i> toh baat dil pe lagti hai!</i>

Aamir could have chosen any other mundane and perhaps more entertaining theme to make his grand debut on Indian television, just like his contemporaries. But he chose something like SJ. So, kudos to him for that.

Aamir and the show are giving us some hope. So let us just believe in the hope. Because hope is all that there is.

First Published: Sunday, May 6, 2012 - 14:07

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