Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why do we expect so much from Aamir Khan?

Blogdosts, I am back. Exhausted and holidayed out! Florence was fabulous, as always. Porcini and truffles.... come on, who could ask for anything more? The cruise was also amazing, and Corfu tops my list of great ports. I have lots of terrific pics to share.... don't know where to start!

Meanwhile, I am just so happy for Hema and Dharmendra's little girl, Esha, who will be getting married on Saturday. I hope to be there.... Hema is one woman I have always admired, and I know just how important the day is for her as a mother. The invitation is so Hema! God bless Esha and Bharat.

**************

This appeared in Sunday Times. I received reactions from Aamir fans and critics. Now, I await yours!

First, a confession. I have not watched a single episode of Aamir Khan’s Sunday Morning Sermon. Not because the show doesn’t interest me, per se. But because Sunday mornings are precious and I don’t want to cringe, suffer, weep and wail on a day that is reserved for some well earned R & R after six days of mazdoori. Sunday mornings are for a leisurely family chat over upma and coffee. Having said that, one must hand it to Aamir for attempting the near impossible – getting television audiences to watch Aamir doing a Bharat Pita, or a modern day version of ‘Rajani’(1985), in which the late Priya Tendulkar took everybody to task for slipping up and making a mess of things. Priya’s style was more abrasive, strident and confrontational, but the content was essentially the same – citizen activism. She also tackled the ‘burning issues of the day’ and did so with a fire and brimstone approach that worked very well with the janata at the time. Priya’s packaging was far from slick. And the show was put together on a shoe string budget. Being the daughter of a fiery intellectual ( Vijay Tendulkar), Priya’s positioning was perfect. She soon acquired iconic status and a gigantic fan base. Aamir didn’t need a hit show for that – he already had both .

So, why has ‘Satyamev Jayate’’ raised so many hackles and generated heat in unlikely quarters? It’s only a show. And Aamir ain’t God! He is only a star-anchor doing his job. And doing it well. Yes, he gets paid a big fat fee for making the nation uncomfortable, week after week. But that was the whole idea. So far, the issues he has tackled are pretty old hat. These are just some of the social blights India has struggled to come to terms with for ages.Aamir the Crusader wasn’t the first to table them. Several agencies have been hard at work for decades, trying to spread awareness, whether it’s about medico-legal issues,Khaap politics, sexual abuse, female foeticide or child marriage. Aamir ‘s fans could easily have turned away tiredly with a ‘been there, know that’ shrug. But that hasn’t happened. Why? It has to do with the Aamir Phenomenon. No other actor in the country is as acutely conscious of his own power. No, not even the other two Khans. Aamir’s level of intelligence is such that when he applies his mind to doing something – anything - from his next big movie to an endorsement for a fizzy drink, he looks beyond just the bottom line. He looks at the future. His own first. And then the future in a cosmic sense. He takes mammoth risks. Some would argue those are well calculated ones. But can anybody in the world predict what the Next Best Thing could be? Aamir’s strike rate has been pretty astonishing so far.If it’s just a gut feel he goes by, what a gut! In the case of ‘Satyamev Jayate’, the risk has been still greater. Aamir was attempting to change the viewing pattern of fickle Indian audiences . That too with a show which is devoid of any entertainment value. The subjects are grim. And going by reviews, there is heavy duty rona dhona involved. By airing SJ on a Sunday morning, Aamir hoped to carve out a brand new slot for himself. A slot with virtually zero competition from other Bollywood stars. To achieve his objective,Aamir didn’t pick a game show – he hoped to become the game changer! The reason why critics carped is because they insist Aamir does not offer solutions. Nor does he see the problem through. But, hello!That’s not his job! We are missing the point here. Aamir is merely a performer, who has chosen this particular format over say, a Khatron Ka Khiladi type of show. That’s smart! If he wants to be the Asian male version of an Oprah Winfrey and build on his brand with a show that impacts a billion people, it’s an astute move.Aamir knows what his admirers expect from him – a lot!And they readily admit this depressing show would have tanked but for Aamir.Alas, even an Aamir cannot play Atlas for much longer, without expectations soaring still higher. It’s a tough call.If Aamir pulls it off, he can write his own ticket to anything - Bharat Ratna, included. But if he flops, well, he’ll still get to keep his fee. And then go back to doing what he does best – movies. Bah! India will have to start looking somewhere else for a Saviour.

50 comments:

Tsomo85 said...

Welcome back! Nothing new here besides same old random rants just to see who comes up with the fastest rumors. And without any surprises it's always the same people who accomplished this very Hijra behavior. HAHAHA I've stop watching SMJ. Same old random tale of the misfortunes of vulnerable people that you hear on phone calls from your peers and pals daily. Nothing new. Except for what this lady said in the domestic violence episode. "If there's truth; it'll be only what Lord had preached." Rest up to them to up to date!!!

venkat gaddam said...

Interesting opinion and i feel the same too. hes just an actor. a businessman, why make such a fuss of the show bec of him, money and if he really cares?

Read my full review here: http://gaddamvenks.blogspot.in/2012/05/satyamev-jayate.html

Nikhil Paranjape said...

You said it right, but Aamir is not responsible for all the issues he discusses in the show. ok he is getting money for it but at least he is doing something positive. I think no government can eliminate dowry or crimes related to it. no government can eliminate child molestation and all other things. its up to us. So at least he is bringing issues in lime light and i think that really helps.

Divya Virmani said...

Hi Mrs. De, welcome back!
I somewhat disagree with you. I so appreciate what he's doing for the public. We all know that Aamir is capable of grabbing everyone's attention...it could be his movies and/or SJ. So, we should appreciate that he brought all these issues out in the open and he also chose a sunday time slot so every family member is sitting together and watching this show. This will bring shame to that individual who had done such corrupt act or who is planning on doing this in the future. This can stop at least 2 out of 5 people! I salute to his efforts and I can care less how much money he's making because he's shedding light on these heinous acts to the junta who acts as if everything is right in our country...but the reality is something else!

eddy said...

Aamir is an actor, yes, a businessman, yes, and you can call me a fool or an idealist (same difference?) but i believe that Aamir is also a good human being and his biggest reason for doing this show has been his good human nature and a hope of bringing some change to the nation and society he belongs to.

you agree that he's very intelligent, well i would like to believe that anyone that intelligent must be spiritually intelligent as well. and on top of that i also believe that every intelligent person realizes that it is their responsibility to take the society towards a better direction.

Am i a fool mam?

Buls said...

I disagree... I think the show is good. There is nothing like it on TV... its a welcome change from stupid saas bahus. And Aamir does it well. Kudos.
Nobody can provide solutions... atleast the show is enlightening people.

The Y said...

Truth alone triumphs. Really?!

With his marketing budget and our gullible audience, he might as well prove to us that Vampires origniated in India and are still found in abundance in the Western Ghats.

vyapaaramev jayate. Business alone triumphs.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Aamir strives to be more than a Oprah (who you may recall has tanked now everywhere except in India). Aamir brings attention to topics that we may all know about, but as citizens we do not have the inclination or the power to bring about change in legislation.

Aamir, on the basis of his hour on sundays has forced government and administrators to make them selves accountable in a legislative and constitutional sense... for example the parliamentary comittee of inqiry into medical matters and legal cases against doctors in Rajasthan. Whether somethings comes of this is moot for now, but a begining has been made. Perhaps there will be 20 more beginings before something is done. But atleast this is an effort.

He has brought more than glamor and personal guilt to sweeping change. He has forced a sense of accountability onto the powers that be. With a population of over billion, we cannot force every single one of our billion selves to look within out concience and culture, but we can force a finite and representative body to look at the rules it makes or does not make, that allow for our ills to multiply.

Aamir and his team have harnessed every possible trick in the book to make it a win win project for themselves and what he hopes to change. I have no doubt he looks to his own advantage, but I also do not doubt the man means well and he believe of which he speaks.

For the english speaking litterati and glitterati and blogandnewspaperreaderatti, these may well be miserable topics, but for the India they make transparent to themselves... all of these things are reality. Oh wait I forgot, these fortunate people suffer all this in silence and secret too, because you see these things do not happen to THEM. YEAH RIGHT!

Pooja Rathore said...

good to know you are back...dont bother about where to start(pics)just post it.
I saw esha and bharath's photo in Bangalore times - goodlooking couple,best wishes to them.
liked your post on AAmir, i did watch few of his shows ,good work ,how the show is going to bring the change i dont know but neverthless intelligent show defenetly worth watching- AAmir is the star of the show.Good show,Good idea,good intention and motive so thumbs up from my side!

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expat_indian said...

I think it takes a lot to do for what Aamir Khan is doing. Lot of people in India have power and position to do good things but how many of them put it to good use? It might be an old concept and may be people in India knows about all the issues that are being discussed but sometimes people just need a constant reminder to do their part.
I wish Aamir all the Best and I will keep waiting for more!

NAT said...

Let Aamir make his money. At least he is earning it doing something worthwhile and not like the other professionals who play with the human mindset making ill gotten money at the cost of the people (rich or poor)
We are all aware of what goes on, as put up in his episodes, but are not doing anything about it.
There are many more who are not aware and if they as individuals are affected wont know what to do. Here he gives one a platform to seek advice and how to get justice.
If 200 to 400 million Indians watch this program together at the same time there is a lot of difference than when a handful of us join together to discuss these matters.

Life Unordinary said...

I have watched 2 episodes and have been moved to tears by both. 'Nuf said.

Shankar Chugani said...

If I would have to have to take only facts into consideration, I would say Aamir has one of the cleanest Records i the Industry. I'm not saying he's Brilliant and lets start following him like crazy and devote Sunday breakfast time to him. Yet having said that the facts that he brings out are not totally manipulative. They might have exaggeration hidden somewhere but these are facts and you can't deny facts. And Its emotional. Probably Indians can compete on the Global Front of being Emotional. What the hell. atleast its getting the nation together. I've known a few facts of Sikkim that I made me think that's pretty awesome. So Aamir ain't God but lets just give the man the attention that he deserves on that quiet slot.

Arjun said...

Dear Ms De, I agree that Aamir is not saying anything new. The issues are pretty old and have been raised in numerous programmes and documentaries. But there is a difference and the difference is AAmir himself. When the star speaks, it lends the issue an altogether different aura.

And thanks for invoking the memories of the inimitable Priya Tendulkar.

Kajal Sangani said...

I also think that Aamir is not doing anything new. But he has such power and star status to raise his voice.
And also I watched his all episodes and concluded that because of him at least some NGOs or Social Organisations having the benefits which they have not get yet.

Kajal Sangani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ambika said...

Aamir Khan has said it very loud and clear - he has no solutions. It's the people, who ought to find solutions (us and the government and non-government authorities) deify him. It's all very simple isn't it? Deify someone and make sure the buck rests with him. When he's riding high on success, jump on the pillion and when earns brickbats jump to the other side of the fence.

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Diksha Chhetri said...

Geez woman! I think you have issues with Oprah Winfrey (I read your report on her visit to India), and also with Aamir Khan... But yes of course it's your duty to "write".

Valli said...

I definitely disagree Mrs. De. The guy is genuine and hats off to his effort, well calculated or not.

The easiest thing to do is criticize.....but i'd like to believe it will make a change within us. The show is anything but rhona dhona. And for someone like you who wouldnt bother wasting your precious Sunday morn, why bother about the rest.

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Chan said...

for once...lets just appreciate his initiative instead

REFLEX said...

Watched the first episode of SMJ, somehow, really didn't like the format and the gimmicks.

Didn't analyzed the reasons for dislike…… Agree with you fully.

philosopher90 said...

I like the show..i hav nt followed all the episodes bt wat I hav seen is good..he is a performer,actor,businessman..agreed bt pt is he is doin something good for the society while he is doin his job of acting and performing..one thng he has done is brought abt awareness on a larger scale..n hence administration is taking measures to curb those ill practices..its a good thing..

solarplexusfilms said...

Nice post. If you're interested, this is my take on SJ

http://solarplexusfilms.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/satyamev-jayate-2012-hindi/

aparna said...

All these words, and you have yet to watch the show! wow! Isn't that a bit unfair? and unethical?!
watch the show and decide (FOR YOURSELF) whether the show is meant to educate or eradicate. I think it is obvious after watching, that Aamir knows his limitations & that of the show. But he only wants to tell people about what's going on & where.
You say the topics are been there, heard that, where!??! maybe in YOUR generation! In my generation,
(20 year olds) NO ONE ever spoke of child sexual abuse in India. As a matter of fact it was seldom even understood or thought possible, till i moved to America & started hearing about it.
Pople will always criticise in India. You have not even watched it, & the media is just jealous they didn't come up with the concept themselves. BAH HUMBUG!

Kaptan Mali said...

u r right shobhaji, amir and his show is getting so much importance just becoz he is a star but amir who talks so much about ills in india is himself too ignorant about his channel . please see this link...http://www.moneylife.in/article/the-truth-about-satyamev-jayates-donations/26553.html
it talks about how they r mismanaging the our hard earned money and and not showing a right picture. thanks

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Ajitabh Messi said...

sorry to share my opinion but i certainly don't agree with u mam....... and u must watch satyamevajayate to start thinking as a human....... hope u take it positively.......and start watching..

Manish Nandal said...

Nice post mam.its your choice whether to watch it or not but in my opinion one must inculcate these values from school life becoz its then hard to change people's opinions when they have matured !!

abhinavmanasspeaks said...

Satyameva Jayate is for sure better than the other STAR programs as 10 Ka Dum, KBC atleast he is focusing on something what we can say a parallel India. We know they exist, we hear it once in a blue moon the rest of the time we are running with our own scripts. Now since the Civilian activism is more active these days, these shows may do some good nobody is expecting to turn the situation around through these shows. But, if some kids or say future citizens have a change in their view point. And by the way the show is successful anyways, its spinning money and if it does some good fine otherwise it is better than the soaps on the TVs.

Narinder Jit Kaur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Narinder Jit Kaur said...

Hi Shabha, welcome back, the pictures are awesome. About Aamir's show? Well ... why we are giving so much importance to Aamir than the content and format of the show? Tough I was very much impressed with the first episode, perhaps it being the first one, but later on the interest faded away. One reason was , I agree with you, the issues he takes up are nothing new to we Indians. We have lived with these for years now. And most of them have been talked about loudly everywhere - female foeticide, sexual abuse, domestic violence etc. But another reason is that though it looks that the programme is well-documented, but watching it episode after episode, I found that Aamir is taking up only those cases which are sub-judice, where judgement are still pending. He must bring out cases where the defaulters have been actually punished for their crime so that people can have a sense of poetic justice, providing them with some emotional relief. And moreover it can come a a warning to those thinking of indulging in such ruthless exercises. Otherwise the whole thing falls on you as a half-cooked, inconclusive dead-weight.

www.narinderjit.com

Narinder Jit Kaur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LOL@India said...

Helo!
Yes, Aamir is an actor! Yes, he gets paid to do the stuff he does! Yes, he is a businessman and an intelligent one at that! He has every right to think about earning his bread! But guess what! He isnt just thinking about his own needs here! Are u expecting Aamir to do all this for free in the name of social cause? Breaking news! U said it right- he is not God!
Aamir has chosen the perfect timing for airing the show! That is the time when the whole family can sit and watch the show! The family does not just watch, but also discuss about it! Honestly speaking, i would rather talk about such topics with my loved ones than just chit chating.
These topics aren't new! What's new is the approach of the show! Aamir and his team have smartly pinned the Achilles heel of Indians. Indians are emotional and a bit self-centered too! And the people wont act against any of the social issue unless and until they feel one of them is being effected!
Aamir isnt giving his verdict on the topics. But isnt that for us to analyze. Now we arent dependent on a star-anchor to tell us whats right even when we have all the facts, are we? Our people are aware whats going on in India. What they arent aware about are the solutions. SMJ team is not only providing all the facts but also making us aware about the ways of tackling the issues. StarPlus is one of those influential channels which is viewed by almost whole middle and lower class. And these are the people who still arent aware of such things!
If he wanted to be Bharat Pita he would have gone out on the streets fasting. But rather than creating chaos he is doing it by simply making people to think and not just asking them to blindly follow.This may not change the nation altogether. If for Indians it takes an influential channel, an influential star-anchor and some "rona-dhona" to spread awareness, then FINE! Whats the big deal about it? Just chill and appreciate guys!

P.S. Watch the show! If not Sunday morning, check out the repeat on Mondays Doordarshan at 9.30 pm.

Akanksha said...

Your writing portrays a splendid view on the actor’s vision of demarcating social issues of the country. It is so true that the actor is just making an effort to make people realize the need of yielding changes. He intends to draw our attention towards the problems that has grounded in the roots. Finding out solution is our Job too.

Akanksha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vikram The Prodigal said...

A person who is well known in fashionable society and is fond of social activity - is this what you are???

May be you should stick to shallow topics, fashion, interior design and occasional women's rights stuff.

Please refrain making speculations and passing them to your readers (though this is a place where you can). What the show covers are the profound 1000's of years old problems. Which will take a toll on effort, time and money to solve. It certainly helps when we are reminded and insisted about the problems and the solutions.

Please substantiate your claims with data. Else, your blog is worthless.

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cool dude said...

Criticizing is the easiest thing to do in the world.I too criticize,but only when I know what i'm talking about. Mam,I request you to watch the show first,all the episodes which have been telecast till now.Even after that if your opinion stays the same.....i don't know what to say next. May be you are right. You have seen Bollywood very closely, i haven't, so i don't know how it works there. But all i can say is whether Aamir is a good man in real life or not he is using his stardom and intelligence in an excellent way.Agreed, that we have been dealing with the issues that Aamir discusses in SMJ for quite some time now. But all these years, did you think of writing a blog about these issues? One single blog, covering all the issues SMJ deals with? My point is, even though we all 'knew' about these issues, we never really thought or talked about them! You haven't seen the show yet and see? You have already written a blog about it!

junior said...

Satyameva Jayate is one good program that is aired on all weekends.Yest the issues are not having any entertainment value and yes it has the so called heavy duty rona dhona ,at least those tears are real and for a reason ,not like the Star soaps drama queens fake glycerin tears.

I think Aamir is brilliant in this show and his magnetic personality glues even the lousy lads to sit back and think about the social injustice around them. He is just doing the role of a debate master, giving a platform to express your views and the solution….Well although these are problems which can’t be fully solved ,but it surely is an attempt to at least control it.

Well i would suggest you to see one episode and who knows even you may change your view :)

junior said...

Satyameva Jayate is one good program that is aired on all weekends.Yest the issues are not having any entertainment value and yes it has the so called heavy duty rona dhona ,at least those tears are real and for a reason ,not like the Star soaps drama queens fake glycerin tears.

I think Aamir is brilliant in this show and his magnetic personality glues even the lousy lads to sit back and think about the social injustice around them. He is just doing the role of a debate master, giving a platform to express your views and the solution….Well although these are problems which can’t be fully solved ,but it surely is an attempt to at least control it.

Well i would suggest you to see one episode and who knows even you may change your view :)

Prasanta said...

You have started your article with contradictions.You admit that you have not watched a single episode of Satyamev Jayate as it's timing coincide with your breakfast time and at the same time you have criticised it also.I do not think that any so called social activist has raised this issues,so effectively.I remember few periodicals had published few articles on this.As far as our TV channels are concerned,they are totally insensitive and all they know is about politics and cricket.

Vishal Tendulkar said...

SMJ comes across as an honest attempt to question the society for it's unwillingness to act on some burning issues. It started with a very sensitive topic of female foeticide and wrapped up the season with ever so neglected topic of rainwater harvesting. I as a viewer cannot see a reason for a personality like Aamir Khan to invest time in such a show apart from an honest attempt to urge the "samaj" to stand up and be vocal for their own good.

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