Monday, May 07, 2012

One Thing Good About Being a Celebrity

Came across two instances of the power of being a celebrity yesterday.

First. Aamir Khan's Satyamev Jayate on Star Plus which is to be aired every Sunday at 11 AM starting yesterday. The programme deals with social issues plagueing India. The first episode yesterday was about female foeticide. It presented data and analysis pertaining to the issue bringing forth its scale, nature and causes. It introduced some victims and some people who have been doing something to solve the problem. It ended with a couple of action points identified for the makers of the programme as well as the viewers. Thoroughly researched. Aamir Khan has spent nearly a decade or more to build a special philanthropic image for himself, from doing movies like Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots, Mangal Pande, and even Dil Chahta Hai. Also campaigns like Atithi Devo Bhava. And in this programme, he brings its force together to hit the viewer's consciousness really hard. Commendable effort!

I hope to be treated with enlightening and moving accounts on many more social issues in the coming weeks. It will be an hour of weekly respite for the TV and its viewers from unending series of mindless soaps, abusive and phony reality shows, sensationalist news coverage, sexualised sports. While this programme is on air, I will give up my abstinence from TV. It's like we are back to our good old Doordarshan days when the ill-endowed documentaries used to be rich with one thing: sincerity.

My wishlist of issues for Satyamev Jayate:
  1. Environment
  2. Education
  3. Corruption
  4. Analysis of India Shining

Second. I came across this other one while flipping through the channels during a commercial break during the above programme. I don't remember which channel. Nor what programme. But there was Salman Khan talking to a phenomenally obese 18 year old girl giving her advices about being healthy and stuff. Not so impactfully presented, nor dealing with an 'apparently' social issue. But I feel that it's an equally widespread problem: this problem of unhealthy lifestyle. The cost of bad health due to lifestyle issues must be second to none on the society.

These celebrities aren't saying something no one else has said. Just that their position as celebrities gives them this unique chance to be listened to and taken seriously. I am happy they are finding it right to use their status for saying something really meaningful.

PS: Heard it that Aamir Khan is getting 3 crores for each episode of Satyamev Jayate. If he continues doing the kind of job he did in the first episode, I think he deserves every paisa of it.


Shipra Agrawal said...

I am sure Amir is going to get a lot of criticism, blaming him for "phony preaching" and especially for earning 3 crore for each episode. But, if Ekta Kapoor can make crores for taking us back into the retro oppressive society, where child marriage seems acceptable, and women's rightful place seems to be only inside the house, then surely Amir deserves more than 3 crores.

The best thing for me in Satyameva Jayate is not whether it will be able to change things or not. I think just from an artistic production point of view, there are few productions in India made with such thorough research and sincerity -- we don't even have many good documentaries and often look towards BBC for good documentaries on Indian issues.

Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti said...

Well said Shipra! Totally agree.