Did we know female foeticide is an issue facing our country? Of course we did and in fact we have known it for over two decades now. From print to TV to content creators, much has been said and shown about such grave issues but it did not have a wide-spread impact that it should have had. The irony of being in a country such as ours is that it needed someone like an Aamir Khan to really take the message across. And boy did he do it!
My wife and three children (the oldest is 17 years and the youngest is 11 years) were all hooked to TV for the one and a half hour that the first episode of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ aired. We found it so riveting that we did not change the channel even in ad breaks.
Real-life cases such as these have been told in the past but no one has approached it with the kind of depth that the issue deserved. No one has peeled off the layers to really expose the tentacles of the problem. Aamir Khan has managed to do that.
I did not know that one of the starting points of the problem was an AIMS paper in the 70s – when people were talking about population control – on technology that made it possible to choose a child’s gender. Also, this became a multi thousand crore industry, where people are still trying to recover money and are offering package deals! These are some very critical issues with really dark aspects that mass media has not been able to cover.
We are all so lost in some kind of a fantasy world where things are perfect. We are talking of GDP and western paradigms of growth and we are gung-ho about the great new India. But it is also true that as a nation, we have a lot to confront and it is great that someone had the guts to finally do it.
The show is looking to create its own time slot. It is too early to say whether it would work or not but the python of commercial TV would have strangled it, had it been on any other time band.
‘Satyamev Jayate’ is very powerful television. But I will keep my fingers crossed because we don’t know how much reality this country can, and wants to, handle on a weekend.
The television world, in a sense, is created to escape reality. This show is like a strong dose of medicine and I don’t know how many would want to come back for it every week. The show cannot leave you unmoved.
The tenor of the show is just right. It is not preachy and at the same time it is aggressive. It has managed to strike a good balance. It is easy for Aamir Khan to get in a ‘lecture mode’ and we see that in his movies and ads but his own emotion of surprise of ‘I didn’t know this’ or ‘this is the first time I am hearing this’, is working for the show. More importantly, he is not shying from showing emotions on national TV. That is difficult for a mainstream male actor.
Hats off to him for actually doing something like this. I know I will tune in next week for sure…
As told to Noor Fathima Warsia
Niret Alva is Co-Founder of Miditech Production
Follow Niret Alva @niretalva