Once upon a time there came this boy next door who captivated us with his innocent look and naïve romantic performance in Qyamat Se Qyamat Taq, the evergreen super hit Bollywood film. This boy then spent more than two decades in the Indian film industry and over time has won zillion hearts not only with his acting performances but also through his passion for film making, selection of scripts, innovative marketing techniques and his fresh and out of the box thinking. The man who gets him actively involved in every aspect of a film, experiments with his looks to go under the skin of a particular character, applies fresh promotional ground rules and literally leaves no stones unturned to make his film a success. Dear reader, the person INTELLECT accolades is none other than AAMIR KHAN.
Unlike any other ordinary budding star, Aamir did not pause by the overwhelming success of his debut film Qyamat Se Qyamat Taq. With his level of commitment, excellence, perfection and innovation, Aamir has evolved with the passage of time as an actor, producer, director, and currently as an anchor! His ever-haunting wish to connect the mass audience via the small screen within and beyond the territory of India came true when he choose to host a talk show titled “Satyamev Jayate” addressing issues plaguing India, that are common in the neighboring countries too, and paving the way towards solutions for the same. Here again he stood class apart from his fellow members of the Bollywood film fraternity who are often seen hosting reality shows.
However, this is not the first time Aamir’s innovative effort endeavors to escalate a social issue. Aamir tried to underline a social issue with almost every film he has been part of. In his first directorial venture Taare Zamin Par, he explored the life and imagination of an eight year old boy who suffers from Dyslexia and exposed in a plain yet spectacular manner, how the Dyslexic kids are being treated in the society. Aamir’s creative contribution guided Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to amend the climax of Rang De Basanti (2006) which carries an age-old theme of “awakening the nationalistic spirit within the youth”, but with a different flair where it leaves a clear message at the end for the youth – “It’s your country, and you are responsible for everything good and bad in it. Change it if you think it’s not perfect”. In 3 Idiots, a satire on the education system, Aamir twirled his character titled “Rancho” into a curios and clever one rather playing it oversmart as penned by the writer and director Raju Hirani, a movie that endorsed the school of thought that students should be allowed to follow their dreams and choose their own heart driven profession as “life is all about listening to our heart and chasing our dreams”.
Apart from his involvement in film, Aamir on numerous occasions has hit the headlines for disagreeing with his directors as to him, film making is more of story-telling. His creative vision drove him to produce and act in film like Lagaan – a shining example of a signature Aamir khan film, where he controlled his vision in an innovative manner. His ingenious marketing technique has been widely celebrated and thus he is popularly known as the “Marketing Guru”. In one of his home production titled “Delhi Belly” Aamir’s Midas touch in promoting the film has done wonders and struck gold in the box office. The most prominent Aamir factor that has probably worked in this film was the item song in which he appeared as the Disco Fighter in true Elvis Presley style. Therefore, on each occasion Aamir’s intelligent effort has been paid off, not only from the commercial aspect but also in terms of the focal point and emphasis on a specific issue within the public realm at large and improving the ever deterring situation.
Nevertheless, Aamir’s innovative stroke has touched and overwhelmed the million viewers of small screen even moving beyond the silver screen. His honest commitment to the society and penchant to nourish a healthy social life led him to produce and host the much talked about talk show Satyamev Jayate, his unique maiden television venture that achieved success from the very first episode. Aamir’s involvement in every aspect of the show including topic selection, primary research, promotion and experts’ engagement has led the show to hit headlines overnight in India and across the world. His predefined social image paired with the insightful presentation style of victims’ personal experiences added with the illustrated fieldwork has sketched the precise fruitful acceptance of the show. His new avatar as a host outshines the celebrity superstar of numerous successful movies as we rather sink into the agony of the victims of social injustice that are conveyed to the society as a whole for a wider awakening.
There is in fact a lot more to say on Satyamev Jayate. Till the time of coining this piece, the show has completed its eighth episode. With each completion, the show has been getting broader and more, reflecting where the society stands and where it should move further to find the potential solutions instead of just highlighting the problem. Following the episode on medical malpractices in India, the Indian Parliamentary Panel invited Aamir and his team to share their knowledge gained while field investigating. In connection to the airing of the fourth episode the Indian Medical Council suspended 13 doctors for committing medical malpractices.
Satyamev Jayate is the ultimate example of a visionary heart wrapped with enthusiastic ingenuity. It is one solid proof of how an out of the box thought process can stir consciousness amongst the mass population in order to lead them towards a movement for social change. To many here in Bangladesh it may seem just another ordinary talk show. However, if concentrated keenly, having a historical background and a social structure in common, one may take some minutes off and ponder on the way Aamir has initiated this battle against all the evil practices prevailing in a society. All it takes is a green visionary heart to reach towards the horizon. It is not about being different, but the rarest power to epitomize the word different.
The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.2, dated July 2012.