Satyamev Jayate: Why patriotism has nothing to do with Aamir Khan's intolerance remarks

Subhash K Jha

Jan 27, 2016 14:48:24 IST

You have to hand it to our superstars. They are so filmy all the time it’s hard to tell when they stop acting. A couple of weeks ago, Aamir 'Satymev Jayate' Khan blurted out that his wife worries about their child’s future in India and that she even suggests they move to another country.

Now Aamir says he can never move out. It was the media’s fault for distorting his statements. Really now, Aamir! Next you’ll say your wife feels insecure in India because of the media.

Aamir Khan in a file photo. AFP

Aamir Khan in a file photo. AFP

Jeena yahan marna yahan isske siva jaana kahan…is Aamir’s new theme song. I am sure clever Aamir remembers what happened to his film Fanaa in Gujarat just because he supported the Narmada project. Now, there is a different between Namada and Kiran. Aamir doesn’t have to be answerable to the former. The latter may just confront him and ask him why he contradicted her plans to flee the kitchen when the chulha gets too hot to handle.

Narmada was so much easier to handle. Oh , dam.

Now by eating back his words, Aamir has placed himself open to endless ridicule. When he says his allegiance to his country cannot be questioned because he has done a show like Satyamev Jayate he sounds pathetically desperate to get into the good books of the sections who have decided to boycott his film.

Let’s get one thing clear. Satyamev Jayate was not a platform for the actor to prove his patriotism. We thought Aamir did the show because he cared about social injustice and inequality. Now he tells us he did it as a flag-waving exercise? Why, Aamir? It’s okay for some people to dislike you for what you said about the growing intolerance in our country. But it’s not okay for you to try to win them back by emptying your pockets in front of the challengers when they come knocking on your door.

All said and done, Aamir didn’t/couldn’t have meant to be unpatriotic. I know him well enough. Aamir is a trueblue home-boy. We have spent many hours talking, and our last conversation some years ago was in his office in Mumbai where he spent a good hour and a half telling me what he found to be wrong with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black. This was vis-à-vis Aamir's own Taare Zameen Par, which Aamir felt did a much more sensitive job of depicting a troubled child’s emotional healing.

Apart from a tendency to be over-earnest and to manipulate the media in accordance with his need of the hour, Aamir has not a malicious bone in his body. Boycotting his film just because he blurted out his anguished insecurities in an unguarded moment is unfair. Making him go into convulsions of justification for that moment of weakness where he only wanted to open up his heart to his fans and admirers is like a wife who asks to be honestly told if she has put on weight, or a filmmakers who seeks your honest critical opinion on his film and the sulks when you opine it is trash.

We want the stars to be one of us, to share their fears insecurities and vulnerabilities. And when they do we punish them for their honesty.

Do yourself a favour. Don’t boycott Aamir’s next release Dangal. That would be disservice to cinema, not to the actor. Just turn your back on all those artistes from abroad who avail of our hospitality without giving us anything in return. It doesn’t matter which country you are from. If you are making your living in India for longer than a few years, please apply for Indian citizenship.

The real enemy is not the Indian artiste who feels moments of fear and insecurity. The real enemy is the force that makes Aamir and his wife feel the urge to flee for that fleeting moment. We are way too hospitable to outsiders.

Aamir is well out of doing the atithee devo bhava act.

Updated Date: Jan 27, 2016 14:50:26 IST