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Aamir Khan In Satyameva Jayate – Sundays Will Never Be The Same

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Here’s To The Crazy One’s. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – are the ones who DO!” – Apple Computers Think Different Campaign in 1997

Ever since the death of Steve Jobs on October 5, 2011 and the subsequent release of his official biography, many of us have started to more actively seek true meaning in what we do. Steve Jobs was one of the few people left in this world who despite his flaws only chose to devote his time to initiatives which had the potential to bring about transformation. He wanted his work to create a deep emotional connection with the user or as Aamir Khan would say,” Dil Pe Lagni Chahiye (it should hit the heart).

Come to think of it, there is one and only person in the whole of Bollywood and the Indian television industry who comes close to the genius of Steve Jobs, Aamir Khan. In an industry crowded with senseless entertainment in the form of innumerable saas-bahu soaps, movies with mindless violence, disgusting lyrics and slapstick comedy, Aamir has always stood out for pursuing only those projects which truly hit the viewer at the heart. Although his counterpart Shahrukh Khan thinks of himself as the true king of Bollywood and his good friend Salman is a nationwide icon, it is Aamir’s success record that is awe-inspiring. Whether it be a classic like Rang De Basanti which awakened a nation and inspired real protests, or movies like Taare Zameen Par and 3 Idiots which took a stance against the rigid education system in India, Aamir’s work strikes a deep emotional chord with the viewers.

Aamir Khan in Satyameva Jayate marks the debut of this creative genius (he was also a state-level Tennis player, is a pro at Chess, Badminton and solving the Rubik’s cube) on the small screen of India. Among his counterparts from Bollywood he is possibly very late in the race of taking his presence to the small screen. However, unlike the rest who mostly anchor game shows or reality TV shows, Aamir has chosen the topic of his small screen debut to be about the nation and the various social issues that plague the people of the country. Aamir Khan in Satyameva Jayate has not really re-invented the wheel, he has in-fact taken inspiration from a number of sources and almost styled it in a manner similar to the early days of the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Like Steve Jobs, Aamir too is a perfectionist who immerses himself into the minute details of everything. With Satyameva Jayate, too he obsessed about things that other anchors would not have cared about, such as the show’s name, the TV commericials and most importantly the time at which the show would air. Aamir Khan in Satyameva Jayate aired simultaneously on Doordashan and Star Plus at 11 AM on Sunday, May 6, 2012. The time slot of Sunday at 11 AM for a TV show hosted by a leading Bollywood celebrity was virtually unheard of, but it had a sound reasoning behind it.

Aamir apparently wanted to take away the laziness associated with a traditional Sunday and instead focus our energies on social issues that demand education and justice. His decision also had behind it, key learning’s from the history of television in India. During the period between 1987 – 1990, two TV series that aired at the time slot of 10 AM – 11 AM on a Sunday, had the whole of India hooked. These shows were the TV adaptations of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata which stirred the imaginations of millions of viewers with its brilliant story-lines, screenplay and characterization. In a phenomenon that India Today dubbed “Ramayan fever,” religious services (Hindu and non-Hindu) were rescheduled to accommodate the show’s broadcast; trains, buses, and inner-city trucks stopped running when the show was on; and, in villages, hundreds of people would gather around a single television set to watch the show. Perhaps it was a wish to re-create something similar that inspired Aamir Khan to chose an 11 AM time slot for his show.

Initial reactions post the first episode of the show which focused on the issue of female-foeticide have been extremely positive. The show’s official website crashed within minutes after the first episode ended, more than 100,000 people dialed into the show to share their thoughts about the issue and the hash-tag #satyamevajayate began to trend on Twitter in India. Aamir Khan in Satyameva Jayate managed to do what no other show, celebrity or government has done so far. Within three days after the show aired, the Madhya Pradesh health department decided to take severe action against 65 pregnancy termination centers across the state by suspending their licenses. Aamir Khan also met with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who immediately offered to bring up the issue of female-foeticide rampant in his state with the state chief justice.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Aamir Khan believes that with his talent and knowledge of the world of entertainment he can change the country single-handedly. As our introduction stated, people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – are the ones who DO!.Whether Aamir Khan succeeds in getting justice and solving the tough social issues in India remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure that our sundays will never be the same again.