Aamir Khan: the high priest of Satya – the truth

Ok so, we should not criticise Satyamev Jayate (SMJ) because, “at least, the show and its host are trying” and because, “which other Bollywood star can dare/bother to take up such relevant social issues”. As I have said repeatedly in many other contexts, one should be judged on what they (explicitly or otherwise) lay claim to be. This TV show and its celebrity host, Aamir Khan claim to be attempting to hold a mirror to our collective conscience.

To see how Satya is packaged, sample this article in the Outlook, a denouement of the show for not touching on Ambedkar and reservations in an episode on untouchability. The names in the excerpt below are of the guests on the show.

…I had spotted Bezwada Wilson in the audience, and I was waiting to see if this leader of the Safai Karamchari Andolan—a man who had pioneered the demolition of dry latrines across India—would salvage the morning. He too was asked to narrate his early life, and he too shed tears. As did Khan with practised ease.

The next day I called Wilson and told him I was annoyed that even he did not bother to mention Ambedkar and Reservation. Wilson clarified that he indeed had. It had been edited out, as was his rant against the Supreme Court and Parliament—since both institutions had been dragging their feet on the issue of manual scavenging. Then he revealed something that shocked me. He said he had not been in the audience when Kaushal Panwar was being interviewed by Khan. I countered saying I had seen him ‘reacting’ to what Kaushal said on stage. “Even I saw myself in the audience and hence was shocked,” said Wilson. He said Kaushal had been interviewed in total isolation, in an empty studio. And yet on Sunday we saw, every once in a while, close-ups of fretful, anxious, pained and agonised faces of members of the studio audience as Kaushal was narrating her story. They even clapped on cue, like when Khan asked Kaushal her heroic father’s name. Clearly, all this had been manipulated and faked—with clever editing and splicing of shots. I checked with Kaushal if this was true. It was…

I also discovered that every participant on the show is forced to sign a ‘confidentiality agreement’ saying they will not speak about their participation—recorded many months ahead—in any social media…

Again, I understand this is just a show on TV. Game shows on TV obviously employ far more technical trickery to entertain the audience. If the above story is indeed true, SMJ should just be seen for what it is – a manufactured reality show, with a pretension of being a crusader for the truth. 

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