In a nutshell, here’s the verdict: Satyamev Jayate works.
If the shroud of secrecy on the content of the programme intrigued viewers to want to tune in, the show, once we’ve seen it, involves us enough to want to tune in again.
What’s the show about? It’s clear, now, that Satyamev Jayate will highlight problems in India that we are all familiar with. The construct will be along these lines: a) definition of a problem b) demonstration of the impact of the problem c) the reaction of the authorities to dealing with the problem d) Aamir’s suggested action e) call for viewers’ involvement and support.
What makes the show interesting is that there will be an element of ‘naming and shaming’. Each episode, while focusing on victims will name the wrongdoers – even if we do not see or hear them.
Today, the show focused on female foeticide and its impact. It showed women who were tortured and forced to abort female foetuses but didn’t quite name the guilty, but we know who they are. The friends, families, colleagues and neighbors of the women on the show all know who they are — and I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the guilty. The same is true of the government authorities and the doctors who are highlighted in this case.
In the future, the ‘named and shamed’ could be builders, contractors, architects, vendors, development authorities… The possibilities are endless.
The concept of Satyamev Jayate is as far away as it can be from the satellite television fare we are generally used to. It’s forcing us to look at real issues and problems, not in the superficial way that entertainment TV has done in the past decade, but in a more involved manner.
Anna Hazare tried the same, with corruption as a focus. He successfully highlighted the issue, but was undone by in-your-face news media, over which he had no control. That’s why Aamir Khan is brilliant; getting non-fiction content on STAR Plus protects him from the harsh glare of news media and the attendant dangers.
There’s no doubt the show works .It’s bigger than I first thought. It’s Anna Hazare, Medha Patkar and Sunita Narain rolled into one — except this creature has brains. Lots of brains.