I like Aamir as an actor. I am a little cross about Peepli Live. I still want my refund for Dhobi Ghat. I thought the kid coming back to life in Three Idiots when everyone chanted “All iz Well” was grossly kitsch. But I like Aamir as an actor. I can place my hand on my heart and say that.
Aamir (and Aamir Khan Productions) stepped onto the Silver Screen in the much anticipated 13-episode saga from May 6th to July 29th that marked the first season of Satyamev Jayate (which for reasons of lethargy – will be referred to as SMJ for the rest of this post). SMJ was dubbed in 5 other languages. It was broadcast on Star Network AND Doordarshan’s DD National. It dived into the abyss of societal evils that plague the underbelly (and beyond) of this country with an aim to turn this cesspool into a crystal clean pond full of lotus flowers (at least in ideal).
I must admit that I did a little round up of other online reviews, spoke to a few friends about it and I think the over-saturated response of ‘SMJ stirred my soul’ that I got was enough to tip me over to the leaner side of the fence. Gentlemen and Ladies, here where I stand the grass is not green and the glass is not half full.
I remember noticing a certain hesitation in Aamir’s voice during his walk on the beach in the first episode as he explained his intent and the format of the show. To be frank, I don’t think I still understand what he meant. While on one hand he said I don’t want to start a revolution, on the other he said ‘ho kahee bhi agg, lekin aag jalni chahiye’. I was hoping there was going to be something more to this than an Oprah rip-off. And thank God I was wrong. It was Oprah meets Jerry Springer!
But, just as I feared, much like Oprah, Aamir’s SMJ was going to lift up the carpet – show the dirt that had been swept beneath it and then in the great glory of an anti-climax – it would put the carpet back down. Like so many other events, episodes or people, SMJ stirred the soul and shook people. It moved men to tears (but Aamir did you really have to cry in every episode?). It lead to buzz-talk. There was a flutter of a revolution of Twitter. It talked about female feticide, untouchables, homosexuality and all the other cliché’s you could think of. All that but with such elitist conscientiousness that I don’t believe that was any connect possible.
Firstly, I did manage to identify one ‘guest’ scholar on the sets of SMJ who was invited to speak on an issue as an expert. This ‘person’ who is a movie maker was kicked out of our college after being charged with sexual harassment towards a female student who was half his age. He had worked up a notorious reputation for being a wannabe revolutionary who was nothing more than a womanizer and a guy trying to find a shortcut to success using pretty much the same ‘hungry india-poor india’ loop that SMJ wants to capitalize on. I think that was the last episode I watched. It that is the level of research and these are the kind of people who come on the show to give their social commentary then the lesser be said the better.
Statistic after statistic and sob story after another, here is something I don’t understand. Star Network found Aamir who was a TV virgin and launched him in this show which seeks to enlighten, awaken and change people. Then we see advertisements of Coca Cola (a brand which Aamir Khan endorses). If that isn’t bad enough, these advts are ‘bringing happiness to children’ which basically means they are selling Coke to children. Maybe Aamir Khan would like to look up how many countries have banned soft drinks and colas from being sold to children in schools and educational institutes? Maybe he wants to answer why he endorses a product which has displaced thousands of villagers and stolen the potable water of thousands of others… not to mention the pesticides in your cola controversy. Or maybe what Aamir was really saying in those advts was “Dhandha matlab Coca Cola” and we all know that dhandha is sab gandha.
Right before his Fanaa days when Aamir was ‘standing up’ for the Narmada Bachaao Andola to the pseudo-social-issues raised in Peepli Live, I believe Aamir has been trying to pitch himself as a ‘socially conscious star’. SMJ, sadly, refuses to rise above Aamir Khan, in my subjective opinion. The first few episodes I watched out of curiosity and the next few out of lack of other options. I moved on to watching other more interesting things – like Alien versus Predator (it is always more fun the 26th time). Despite the needles I may be pricking into your heart, I ask for no forgiveness for my opinion. SMJ, honestly put, is one of those shows I Khan live without. I’d much rather watch Penn & Teller’s Bullshit.
I like Aamir as an actor. I am a little cross about Peepli Live. I still want my refund for Dhobi Ghat. I thought the kid coming back to life in Three Idiots when everyone chanted “All iz Well” was grossly kitsch. I like Aamir and that is it. I do not sojourn his desire to want to be the Indian equivalent of Oprah.
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