“Why this hype over ‘Satyamev Jayate’? Don’t you think, it’s overrated, Tom?”
“Overrated? ‘Satyamev Jayate’ is certainly a far cry from those soppy saas-bahu dramas that are clichéd and revolve around the mundane. It has given the audience something new to think over-”
“New? There is nothing new about this program. We have had so many programs devoted to social causes. It is just the presence of Aamir Khan that is leading to the entire hullabaloo.”
“Well, what’s wrong with that if Aamir can make people sit up and take notice! Of course, there have been programs based on social issues in the past. But none has captured the imagination of the nation the way ‘Satyamev Jayate’ has!”
[The above is a conversation (which I happened to overhear) between Ekta and Tom, my IBL Mumbai teammates.]
As someone rightly points out that ‘Satyamev Jayate’ is indeed not an out-of-the-box concept. Shows targeting social evils have been in existence even before Tendulkar started his career. However, one cannot deny that no similar show in the past has managed to create the kind of impact that this Aamir-anchored show has done effortlessly; no other show has grabbed so many eyeballs with staggeringly high TRPs for something that does not belong to the entertainment genre; no other show has stirred the sensitivity of the nation and prodded us awake from our obliviously comfortable slumber.
‘Satyamev Jayate’ has managed to do something that no other show in the past has come close to doing. It has made kids watch and appreciate something which, hitherto, had only been propagated by a minuscule section of the society. It is true that the success of the show can be credited more to the stardom of Aamir than to the content. I am, of course, not suggesting that the show lacked content. On the contrary, it is one of those rare shows that are completely content-driven and purposeful. However, had it not been for the presence of the ‘3 Idiots’ actor, this show would, in all probability, have gone unnoticed and unseen. What is heartening to see is that an actor who could easily have chosen to make his television debut with a game series or a reality show (a safe path trodden by Aamir’s predecessors), he instead chose to play the gamble, take the risk and try to spread some meaningful message for the elevation of the general society instead of going for personal profits.
Though one cannot vouch for the sincerity of those tears (referred by some as ‘crocodile tears’) that Aamir shed on the show, it would be blasphemy not to give credit to the actor for the sincerity with which he led the campaign and for his zeal for perfection even while documenting such a show. By producing films like ‘Dhobi Ghat’ and Peepli Live’, he has already sent out the message strongly that he is not the one who runs only after box-office money. His priority lies in delivering high-quality content and he and his crew did that fabulously with ‘Satyamev Jayate’. Take for instance, the episode centered on ‘female foeticide’ which is poignant, appealing, heart-tugging and inspiring. Apart from highlighting the diabolical practice plaguing the so-called ‘shining India’, the episode also told the heart-warming story of some rebellious women who fought against this evil. It is now left to us, the citizens, to decide whether we want to continue the fight or not. It’s up to you to make the choice. Are you happy to ignore it and lead your life in your dreamy, happily-ever-after world or do you have the courage to take the lead in this war which we must fight? Instead of merely enlightening us with something which we already knew deep down within (female foeticide is not an unheard tale in our country, after all), it inspired us, taught us, and even pleaded with us to do our bid to put an end to this practice.
The show targeted several issues including dowry, child sexual abuse, honor killings, domestic violence, pesticide poisoning, untouchability, alcoholism, water crisis, insensitivity towards the physically disabled and the abysmal plight of senior citizens. The show was blatant in its protest against the horror of domestic violence; it was effective in generating sympathy for our old, uncared & forgotten parents; it was sincere in alerting the government about the malpractice existing in medical pharmacies; and it was successful in highlighting the need to preserve water. Aamir, on his part, was restraint, non-indulgent and sensitive as he portrayed the true picture of burning India to a sea of audience habituated to air-conditioned apartments and addicted to Android Phones.
When one reads a good book or watches a good film, then he is bound to appreciate it at that moment. He is bound to go gaga about it. However, what differentiates a good book/film from a great book/film is the magnitude of impact that a great something can produce in the years to come. We remember a good film for a month, but we remember a great film even after 10 years. So, the question is whether ‘Satyamev Jayate’ has created an impact that will sustain itself during the upcoming months? Now that the show has come to an end, will it continue to be a part of the daily conversation? Will its legion of fans continue to discuss about child abuse, female foeticide and immoral practice of overpriced medicine? Will something be done by somebody to slay the devils exposed by the show? Perhaps, the show needed to do a bit more! Perhaps, the jingle of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ shall continue to play in our lips for a few days before melting into oblivion! Perhaps, the true mission of the show to eradicate all evils shall remain unfulfilled because of the self-centeredness of the modern man! Perhaps, the show’s true message will get devoured by the hungry tide of time and money! Perhaps…… it was just another show that will die an untimely death.
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