Satyamev Jayate! Sure, since Mr. Aamir Khan himself says it! But does it, really?
SMJ started off with a sense of mystery with Aamir on hoardings making people look forward to it. It was given the Sunday morning slot - long forgotten in our childhood - after all it’s an Aamir venture and has to be different! It started off with a topic that would pull the most heart-strings - female infanticide. And the rest, as they say, is history! Aamir, the actor became Aamir, the crusader, the social change agent, the soul that is awakening the others in the country. And the fact that it is an Aamir venture automatically gave it the ‘perfectionist’ credibility and Aamir didn’t have to be work hard for all the buzz generated online. Each episode is packed with views and counter views, interviews, heart rending personal experiences (Indian TV is incomplete without it!) and purported solutions to the social issue - a perfect package like you would expect from Aamir.
If Aamir Khan really really wants to make a difference to the social evils of the country, what justifies the whopping amount he charges per episode? For lending his star status to the program which in turn would lead to sure shot success? 8 episodes later, has the first episode made any difference to the female infanticide rates in the country? Has it made even a minuscule percentage of people change their mind having a baby girl? Has Aamir’s promised letter to the Rajasthan govt brought all the female infanticide cases on to a fast track court? If there isn’t the slightest change for the better 8 weeks after the episode, the Aamir tag doesn’t seem to have really done the magic!
The counter argument could be that such things take time. Well, they do even when the common man fights them through NGOs and private organizations. Even if we look at the emotional impact of the program, have any of the conservative people changed their mind about love marriages or have parents become more alert to sexual abuse of children? Is even one person in the relevant govt department thinking of making buildings disabled friendly? Is SMJ’s expert team tracking any of these changes?
Personally, SMJ is just another professional assignment for Aamir where he gets to charge his fee to come across as the champion of social causes. As TV viewers, even we don’t care much about the issues discussed. We just want good television on a Sunday morning. We might feel bad about unborn girl babies or the women being hit by their husbands but come Monday, Aamir goes laughing to the bank and we get on with our routine life!