Satyamev Jayate is the latest celebrity show on television. KBC created millionnaires, Khatron ke Khiladi looked for daredevils, Big Boss created a bunch of public nuisances – this one wants to ‘change our hearts’ and while at it, hit us hard. So Aamir the superstar with his carefully cultivated public image hosts the series, the first of which focused on female foeticide. A bunch of media articles have dissected the show – I am going to try add some more – there aren’t too many, I promise and I am going to keep adding to the list as and when something strikes me…
First the positives –
- Female foeticide is serious business and people need to sit up and realise the enormity of this evil. This show got people talking about the issue – a fairly good start; and great use of celebrity, as many have pointed out
- The show relied on facts as much as it did on anecdotes and imagery
- The show examined multiple facets of the issue – family, demographics, doctors, government, social consequences, a success story, etc
- A politically safe topic to begin with – which could be good/bad – we’ll have to wait and see how the rest of it unfolds
While I didn’t mind the incessant promos and Aamir’s preachiness, here’s what I didn’t quite fit neatly with the ‘socially-conscious’ show
- Making an issue purely personal sometimes comes in the way of an institutional solution. Somewhere in the show, the ‘personal’ took over because the host was Aamir and this is his connect with his audience. So although there were mentions of Korea and the success in Nawanshahar, at the end of the day, it boiled down to the sms and fund raising for Snehalaya, an NGO.
- Female foeticide is a crime – not doubt about it. But what are the sociological factors that underlie this phenomenon; can these notions be dispelled? how? Nothing in the episode seemed to touch on this aspect.
- Aamir pulls in the eye-balls. But clearly, in his presentation, he is aware of his celebrity status and is happy to project himself as the crusader, who is going to write the golden petition to the Rajasthan government. But the show should not be about him and neither should it be about what he has learnt. Its about issues that matter and people whose lives are affected by them.
- The reality show format with a bunch of star-struck spectators in the studio is an instant put-off. If anything, their reactions come across as tutored, if not fake
- Its unfortunate, but Sachin and Aamir – two of our biggest brands seem to have become the Ambanis’ resident celebrity cheer-leaders
To sign off, a couple of what-ifs
- What if Aamir encouraged us to not only send text messages, but also seek out and tune into other media that highlight similar issues? suicidal, I know – and Aamir is not naive.
- What if Rahul Gandhi hosted this show? ah, well…we will never find out.