Monday, May 07, 2012

A wake up call called Truth

Very few 'stars' can live up to the kind of hype that Aamir Khan creates for his products. Very few can pull it off too, like Aamir did with Satyameva Jayate. The veteran actor managed to not just live up to the carefully constructed expectations of his debut on the idiot box, he even managed to moist a few eyes and deflect attention from himself to a burning issue that we all want to conveniently forget.

Satyameva Jayate attempts to break away from the familiar 'Bollywood' mould of talk shows on TV and sets out to bring something else to the table - Reality. No it isn't simulated reality like Big Boss or phony toughness of Roadies. Aamir's brand of reality is stark, hard hitting and gut wrenching. This is the kind of reality we desperately avoid by installing sound proof glasses in our bedroom windows and gazing the other way at each traffic signal. In spite of our best efforts, it is hard to escape this kind of truth.

Yes, there are people who still run away from it. It is just a TV show after all - you can always change the channel! I can picture a fictional, cola-guzzling, overweight, middle-aged gentleman changing the channel with disappointment after the first 5 minutes. 'Yeh kya kar raha hai? Entertainment kidhar hai?' he says aloud and moves on to a dance show where every contestant is hailed as the 'next big thing' by the mediocre judge who couldn't dance to save his life. Our middle-aged Patron needs monkeys on his TV, dancing to the tunes of his subscription of two hundred and thirty rupees for the satellite TV. All he wants is a few laughs and ample cleavage. But when he gets a call from his daughter in the dead of the night that his grand daughter has been killed by her own father, reality hits him so hard that every fat cell in his bloated existence shakes with the shock.

Those of us who avoid meeting reality by living at least eight stories above the level where the nauseating stench of visceral truth stops rising, it just managed to seep into our living rooms through a Bollywood star's talk show. The grotesque images of a mutilated face, the brutal savagery of a highly educated 'upper class' grand mother, the tears and the astonishment of a studio audience which is simultaneously excited to see a 'Star' and hit with a 10,000 volt electric shock called truth....we needed a master story teller to make us see the truth.

'What's new about this show?' my mom said. 'There were a lot of shows like this. Kiran Bedi had a show like this too. A lot of people tried to highlight these issues too.'

I said, 'The only difference is, even I'm watching the show because Aamir Khan's hosting it.' Satyameva Jayate isn't just about Aamir Khan. It is about how truth always triumphs. But it helps that Aamir is hosting the show. He didn't need to do this, but his presence elevated the issues right away.

I'm an unabashed Aamir fan, just like I'm a shameless sucker for all-things-Sachin. But I pride in myself being as objective as I can when I critique their performances. I feel the best tribute to performers of Aamir and Sachin's class is being unbiased about them. When Aamir Khan steps out to perform, he doesn't aim to just entertain the masses. He aims to make a deeper connection than that, and create a lasting impact in the process.

So, we cried a bit when we saw it today for one hour. And sent an SMS immediately pledging our support to the cause. We have a plane to catch early in the morning tomorrow, so let's get over with the Sunday ritual of dining out and high-street shopping early. Truth always wins, but we also celebrate the fact that Aamir Khan wore the same Titan Orion watch on the show that is lying on the couch at that very moment. What a coincidence!

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