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.