LAST WEEK, Hindi film superstar Aamir Khan proved that he is way ahead of the other Khan who holds sway over billions of film loving audiences in the subcontinent. The first episode of Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails), Khan’s debut reality show that kicked off last Sunday, dealt with the horrific reality of female foeticide in India and left audiences in the studio and in millions of homes, teary-eyed and shaking their heads in disbelief.
The 47-year old, who began with being just being a good-looking leading man, has in the recent years metamorphosed into a thinking man’s actor who has increasingly commanded and got roles written for him. And when his obsession with perfection got ahead of him, he went on to make films himself.
For several months now Khan has been near-missing from the Bollywood scene and has been absorbed in putting his debut television show together, often pushing back his commitment to other movies. But in the end, when the show was telecast on Sunday, he showed that it is brain, not brawn or grey hair and a larger than life persona of people such as Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan, that matters. All of the three superstars have had their trysts with television but we suspect they will now rush for cover.
The savvy, sophisticated Khan, meanwhile, has hit the ground running, garnering the support of India’s one billion plus population to pressurize the government to take action against the perpetrators of female foeticide. He is writing columns in newspapers, getting himself a radio show and using every public platform to promote the show and project himself as a social activist. Ostensibly, though, he says he is an actor and not a social activist.
Already, the first episode has had the desired effect. Shamed by the figures of female foeticide that his research team put together, the Rajasthan government has directed tough action against the practice and announced cash incentives to those who report on doctors and clinics who help families to kill the unborn female child.
Khan’s website crashed minutes after the show was telecast, with over a million hits by fans who left emotional messages.
Will Aamir Khan be the next messiah for a disillusioned nation, after the much-older Anna Hazare? Only time will tell. In the meantime, the nation is awaiting the next episode of “Satyamev Jayate” with bated breath. By Sudha Menon – Khaleej Times - 12 May 2012.
SATYAMEV JAYATE - WEBSITE
Jai Ho Aamir............