No sooner did Aamir Khan’s ‘Satyamev Jayate’ air, all sorts of opinionated blogs and articles came out of the woodwork. Cynical eyebrows were raised. The usual questions were thrown around. Is Aamir’s motive truly altruistic? Is this really going to help? Does the team only care about TRPs and advert money? Are they really talking sense? Is this really a case of the proverbial and cliched ‘old wine in new bottle’? Did Aamir really seem genuine in his approach? Did the whole setup of the show really connect with the common man? Will things change? A very no nonsense friend of mine tweeted asking if the difference between Sony’s ‘Crime Patrol’ and ‘Satyamev Jayate’ only the packaging called ‘Aamir Khan’?
I haven’t seen ‘Crime Patrol’, though honestly from the looks of it, I always thought it to be another ‘C.I.D.’, and you can see where it logically leads one. But coming back to the point, sometimes packaging IS what you need to get the message across right? There was an extensive sting operation by two journalists exposing rampant female foeticide, but nothing came out of it. None of us watched it. None of us recoiled in horror at this heinous crime being committed, which MUST be punishable by death. The yearly topic of sex ratios and the falling number of girls against boys is a favourite one for the mainstream media to intellectually masturbate over. However, in the span of just one 1 hour show, India woke up. Social media was abuzz, twitter trends went worldwide. Feminists found another reason to hate men. The in-laws were condemned once more. But above everything else, IT MADE PEOPLE TAKE NOTICE. It was a show that brought out the emotional and physical hell women go through, the social implications, the filthy commerce behind it, the government apathy, and the public inaction due to an indifferent attitude. It went a step ahead and promised action.
What more should we expect from a show? In an article on firstpost, the author references an article Aamir has written. My first reaction to the critique the author has offered was that of exasperation. Aamir’s article was nitpicked, his personal opinions countered by more personal opinions without any shred of facts or references and no comment on what the real issue at hand is. In this article in TOI, the author just tries to point out how artificial he and the show were. Honestly, I stopped reading after the first few lines.
Does the end justify the means? Or does it always have to be about the journey as well as the destination? Watching this show, I never felt it was about Aamir or his aura or star power. It was about an issue we choose to neglect because we smugly believe it won’t happen in our homes. ‘Apna kaam banta, bhaad mein jaaye janta’ sorta thing. What I saw was a superstar putting all his weight behind an issue and really trying to get people to do something about it, starting with himself. Isn’t that commendable? In times like these, when mainstream media colludes with politicians, edits interviews which are then broadcasted as ‘Live’, cuts and pastes words from an uttered sentence to completely change the context and intent, isn’t this perspective a bit better suited to the needs of this nation? If you answer in the affirmative, do we really need to judge the messenger? Is it really important if he fails to appropriately display depth and emotions? Isn’t it more than enough that he’s stirring a slumbering nation into action? If even 10% of the husbands watching that show grow a pair of balls, and oppose their parents’ wishes for a grandson, won’t we achieve something? If even 10% of the in-laws become aware of the fallacy of their demands, won’t we be better off as a society? If this really happens, will the messenger and his actions, methods, the set, the number of tears he shed really matter? Will they be responsible for the change, or will they just be a necessary part of a show that was a catalyst?
I’m not kidding myself thinking that the team doesn’t want commercial success. They do. Roping in a star like Aamir Khan would definitely not be cheap. And I’m not sure if they’ve declared at the beginning of the show that this is a ‘not for profit’ show. If their success lies in more people watching it, giving the better ratings and advert revenue, I’d be happy. For it would mean that the show is reaching out to more people, making them aware, enabling them to think and hopefully, do what is right, what is NEEDED. I couldn’t care less if the producers and the actor make a ton of money trying to clean up our mess.
For me, the end DOES justify the means, this time around.