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Aamir Khan – The Indian Oprah?

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By Pratidnya Bhat     May 10, 2012 in Entertainment
Mumbai - Aamir Khan is a man with a Midas touch. This Bollywood superstar made his TV debut with “Satyamev Jayate” (Truth Alone Prevails) which was aired last Sunday during brunch time at 11 am.
The first episode of Satyamev Jayate exposed the ugly heads of Female Foeticide and Female Infanticide across the country. It touched upon 3 such cases from different parts of India as well as from different classes of the society. The show is hosted by Aamir Khan, one of the leading actors in Bollywood.
Who is Aamir Khan? He is one versatile actor-cum-producer-cum-director who is immensely popular for his perfectionisms and brilliant performances in all his film projects. He acts in just one or two films per year which is quite unusual trait for any mainstream Bollywood actor. But each film he does reaches its pinnacle each time at the box-office and brings about appreciation, acclaim and awards along-with international exposure and last but not least is always the highest grossing film! Khan’s film ‘Rang de Basanti’ (2006) had almost reached Oscar nomination. His films are jewels to cherish forever in the film fraternity. On 30 November 2011, Khan was appointed as national brand ambassador of UNICEF to promote child nutrition.
Around August, 2011, Khan started talks with popular quiz show producer, Siddhartha Basu's BIG Synergy, to host a talk show, similar to the Oprah Winfrey show named 'Satyamev Jayate' or 'Truth Alone Prevails'. Siddharth Basu said, “I think Aamir makes for a pensive and studied Oprah. More power to him and even more power to issues he raises that affect us all. Hopefully, it will get people thinking and acting on it on a much bigger scale.” The first episode kicked off its much awaited debut with his signature unconventional offering and touched upon a very disturbingly sensitive yet important issue of female foeticide and infanticide across the country.
Aamir was moved to tears in the first 10 minutes of the show when he began one-on-one conversations with three women, Oprah Winfrey-style, all of whom had to bear the brunt of having a girl child inside their womb. The audience too shed tears on various occasions as the show kept on touching emotional chords as it progressed. Khan interacted with few activists who had been crusading against this social evil. He also interacted with two courageous journalists who carried out a sting operation, seven years ago, in four states Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The sting operation had exposed and revealed the faces and names of 140 doctors who were involved in sex determination ultrasounds and subsequent sex-selective abortion. The journalists were dejected as there had been no arrests or licenses revoked in the past seven years. Instead the accused doctors were either promoted or had been cleared off the charges. The journalists also complained saying that the cases against these doctors in question were being tried separately in a number of districts, rather than together, and so they had spent a great deal of time being called to one court or another to testify.
The show reignited the flame and Aamir Khan reiterated his punch line: “We all can make a difference by putting in individual efforts collectively”. He expressed his desire to meet Rajasthan Chief Minister to get the cases against the doctors clubbed together and tried in a fast track court and appealed to viewers to support his signature campaign. This aspect took everyone concerned under storm and pressure of being answerable to fellow Indians. On May 9th Khan met Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot and confirmed that there were few plans being worked upon by him and his team and that Mr. Gehlot would speak to the Chief Justice as well and take the matter ahead.
“Satyamev Jayate” takes elements of the female empowerment talk show associated with Oprah Winfrey, journalism, public service announcements and reality TV interactivity and throws them all together. The brand “Aamir Khan” itself brings with it highest level of intellect, creativity, emotionally connecting paradigms and inspiration. It is an expression of the power of media and the inherent potential of society in resolving its own problems. The topics are thoroughly researched and hence force the audience to re-think and re-examine life around them.
Aamir Khan has always taken upon different , unique and meaningful projects and turned them into major success stories. Now, can Khan do a Winfrey and bring about a revolution in India through his talk show or not is the big question. Oprah who created an epic out of her show is often praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others. Will Aamir prove the same to Indians? Well, it’s too early to comment.
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