Welcome to television in India. The most rotten form of mass media. Social responsibility of a medium as powerful as TV was being molested by the Star Pluses, the Sonys, the Ekta Kapoors and the Ronit Roys ,when suddenly one fine Sunday morning, the stars shine down and the same Star Plus that – blunted the minds of many a million Indians by starting the trend of this never ending Saas-Bahu soap sagas – aired Satyamev Jayate, created by Aamir Khan. What was in it for the broadcasters was definitely the money associated with airing ‘Aamir Khan’ every Sunday morning, but the content of the show is what deserves an applause. By far, Aamir’s Satyamev Jayate is one of the very very few sensible things on tube that takes away or may just ease a little burden of being called an Idiot Box from the 40 inch shoulders of my LCD screen. Aamir Khan truly understands the meaning of social responsibility and and finally here we have a show that talks about the social evils of our society and brings us forward the first hand experiences of its victims. Simultaneously aired on all Star TV channels, for the first time, Aamir makes sure to catch the attention of every couch potato zapping the remote.
Aamir treats the subject of social abuses and atrocities with utmost seriousness, gives them the required incubation period for the viewer to fathom its depth and makes the victims comfortable by sharing their pains. Satyamev Jayate is not a TV show, it’s a movement in itself. With Female Foeticide as it’s subject in its first episode and Child Sex Abuse as the subject in the second episode that aired today, Aamir uses the most widely used mass medium, a TV set which has its reaches right from the slums of Dharavi to the rain forests in Cherrapunji and a language that everyone understands, everyone speaks. Call him the Oprah Winfrey of India or the Matt Damon but Aamir uses his star status in the best way he possibly could have. He does not compare your intellectuals with a ‘paanchvi paas’ student, nor does he endorse a game of shadows in a house commanded by a terrifying voice, Aamir personifies what Peter Parker’s uncle told him, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” It is a show for the masses, much better than watching a star grunt his way out of a video-game, much better than watching premier league games on TV. Satyamev Jayate has a reach that made my pro-gamer friends in H Hostel watch it, that made the TV in my hostel switch for the first time from anything except sports to Star Plus, that made #femalefoeticide, #childsexabuse and #AamirKhan trend on Twitter but most importantly, it made India think. It made India skip a heartbeat. It touched a paining nerve, a nerve that should be touched, wriggled and ostracized from the body.
Let’s all draw our sword from our scabbards and continue the fight that Aamir Khan is starting. For once, let’s all hail the guy who is not only the reigning superstar of Bollywood who tries to achieve perfection in the films he makes, but also dares to debut as a director with Taare Zameen Par and now on TV with Satyamev Jayate! And I would not disagree with Somik Sen (@bangdu on Twitter) when he says “Aamir Khan has single-handedly affected the business of all-you-can-eat-and-drink Sunday brunches.”
Kudos to you Aamir!
– Aman Aggarwal
Thapar University, Patiala
(This article can also be read here.)
Its NOW or NEVER!!