India has a lot of issues; shows like Aamir’s Satyamev Jayate just make it bad. A touched up Aamir listening to issues narrated in well-scripted tone by carefully picked up people is not what you call ‘doing something’ for the society.
Female feticide, Child abuse, malpractices in medical profession, all the issues are real problems affecting significant sections of the society but it is government’s job to deal with them. NGOs pitch in for help too but a Bollywood star charging Rs.3 Crores per episode should be/can be taken too seriously? I agree there is a lot we can do to make the world a better place but watching Satyamev Jayate and reading up on its ‘impact’ only to forget it all when the show and its publicity is over is not how the society can improve.
This article is not for those people who were unaware about all these issues till now and Satyamev Jayate helped in making them aware but this piece is surely for those people who think Aamir is a superman really bothered about problems of the country and shows like Satyamev Jayate can help the world.
#1 To begin with the show is a well-orchestrated attempt. It is not just a show; makers of the show have tried their best to make it look like a movement, a revolution! Such shows have always been there on India’s state owned media-DD National has Meri Baat and DD News periodically takes up issues of importance. Sad part is, unlike SJ, they can’t afford the publicity. They can’t air spots on radio, ad films on you tube, stories in print media exulting people to watch it. Look at the outdoor publicity, SJ has managed. It takes money to put Aamir on a life-size hoarding in every important corner of big cities! Such PR is justified if the aim is a benign one to get as many people aware of the issues but this PR gets serious when a national newspaper publishes a one-sided piece hailing Aamir in every other sentence for getting the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Bill passed! In reality this bill was framed in 2010 itself and was first tabled in Rajya Sabha in 2011 when it was referred to a standing committee of the parliament. After the regular proceedings bill was finally passed. Only the timing of the ‘second episode’ of the show coincided with the bill but what else except a proper PR plan in place can ensure a headline like, “Lok Sabha passes child protection bill courtesy Aamir”, in a national newspaper? What more the ‘news report ’ ends with a “More power to Aamir! Jai Hind, Satyamev Jayate!” Why don’t we make Aamir our PM next!
Also show has been branded as something equivalent to a state-sponsored social service advertisement complete with Ashok Chakra but is not that going way too far as it is part of our national emblem and SJ is a private affair! If it fails it would jeopardize country’s image, it is not just good for us but it is also bad for India!
#2 While some Filmstars/celebrities can be rude enough to shock you with their motives, a la Anurag Kashyap who quipped ‘he is not an NGO’ when asked why did he make Gangs of Wasseypur but there are some like Aamir who can very well hide their ulterior commercial motives behind that seriously concerned look.
If we look at his career till now, in the beginning he sold due to his chocolaty boy looks-Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikender, Dil, Hum hai rahi pyar ke! Later as he aged he did some action-Ghulam and in his desperation compromised on quality cinema with a horrible ‘Mela’ and a ‘Raja Hindustani’, which thanks to its masala quotient was a hit. His obsession with the society and kids is relatively recent. It began with Taare Zameen Par when the ‘perfectionist’ realized that social issues work if an A lister talks about them in connivance with media. So off to a bright start, he did a 3 Idiots to say what we everyday talk about-uselessness of MBAs and Engineering degrees. Satyamev Jayate is an over the top effort to sell everything associated by hiding behind the veil of social service.
#3 Do you really need to listen to those well-composed songs with Aamir in tears to feel concerned about a social problem and at the end of the day deal with it? No! Do you need a caller tune of the same? No again but you are told again and again to download one. Why? How will the sponsors make money? Why do we need sponsors at all if the show and the people behind it are so great? Cannot Star Plus give airtime for free? Can’t Aamir do it for free? Why the fancy set with fancy musicians in fancy clothes? Okay well if we agree they are not in it for money then wait till the time the buzz is not dead. Real concern is something Aamir has a lot of time to show. Show may get over but expectations should come to haunt him until we ourselves conveniently choose to forget it all!
Finally fact remains; Celebrities have a lot of power to bring change in the society. We appreciate all those celebrities including Aamir who have come forward to do so but at the same time, social issues should not become another format for money spinning as real lives are at stake. Such shows may make social issues cool but truth is that they are not in long-term interest of India.