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The time has come, the walrus said,

to talk of many things;

Of cabbages and kings,

and whether Howard Roark Aamir Khan has wings.

-[ Ellsworth Toohey, The Fountainhead]

I admired Aamir ; 

a.When the QSQT-cutie transformed into Mr Systematically Perfectionist …  

b. When he defiantly called the bluff on  the ‘Awards ceremony’ fiascos…

c. When he took calculated risks (3 hours 45 minutes of cricket-caste system-Freedom struggle! Whew..reminded me of Ayn Rand’s ambitious mix of sex-philosophy-economy-politics in Atlas Shrugged)

d. When he had the audacious confidence to avoid the screen for an entire first half (Taare Zameen Par)

e. When his presence guaranteed a good movie and rendered superfluous the Director (Guess who was Director of Saaheb, Biwi aur Ghulam . Guru Dutt? Nope, the correct answer is Abrar Alvi.)

Similarly, I almost always tend to overlook Amol Gupte, Rakesh Mehra and Ashutosh Gowarikar’s contributions to Taare Zameen Par, Rang De Basanti and Lagaan respectively).

So why is Aamir Khan facing a sudden backlash? Why has Satyamev Jayate raised hackles and garnered such vitriolic comments?

Is it because of 1] his constant Rodin’s thinker pose?

rodinAK thinker

2] Bad timing: Sunday morning for a serious social issue? In the first place, very few wake up before noon on Sunday. Over and above that, Aamir attempts to ‘awaken us’ on waking up.

Sunday is a day of denials– Denial of existence of Monday; denial of anything ugly, violent and uncomfortable; denial of a life that is not cozy and benevolent. On such a Sunday, he offers us his reality show at brunch hour.

3] If you are not part of a solution; you are part of a problem: A pity that he stops short at showcasing horrifying images and stories. Eminently real social problems that require and demand action. However, his research and zest often stops at the visual and emotional effects.

We already know the existence of unemployment, corruption, child exploitation. Why market torture and tears? Isn’t that what all Other reality shows do too?

4]’ Prestige cooker’ act: The famous tagline of the ad, which declares ‘ The truest & only proof you love your wife; is if you gift her a Prestige cooker.’ prestige-festival-dhamaka

Compare that to his Satyamev Jayate(SMJ) tagline, translated as ‘If you watch SMJ show, it proves that you care for this country’.  taglineReally? Patriotism boiled down to a TV show? Imagine a soldier on the Front quipping, “Can we have a cease-fire break? I need to prove my patriotism on Sunday morn at 11 am. Then we can go back to our redundant and unimportant vigilance.’

The sheer judgmental tone of the tagline is a turn-off. It reminds me of the Emperor who believed ‘ Only the Wise will be able to see his robes.’ Hmmm… emperor new clothes

5] Dhoom 3? – His 500 crore-plus knockout proof that he can do brainless bullshit as easily as the other Khans.

D3 and Ghazini , both actually. (Two rip-offs of Christopher Nolan films-Prestige and Memento, in a row?) But then, why put him in the trial box?  Why grudge him the success of crowd-puller films? He gets money into his pocket for doing this tripe; he has a blast doing this tripe.

But when 500 crore roll in, obviously quite a lot of people are ready to pay money out of their pockets to watch tripe. Why hold him responsible for guessing and playing on public wishes?

d3 prestige

I realize that I can accuse and criticize Aamir precisely because I expect more from him than his contemporaries. Disappointment is often the gulf between Expectations and Reality.

I hope he focuses future SMJ episodes on

a. Positive images and incidents : Highlight women who run small scale industries; youth who display innovative ideas at IIT techfests; Sketch artists who render services to police in tracking criminals.

b.  How about inviting the accountable people in power– politicians, police and decision makers to answer the public outrage? Use your clout and pull to ensure positive changes in their outlook and action.

c. Go easy on the blatant commercial promotions in the background.

Here’s wishing him better luck from a fan.

Am I being too harsh on him? Do you agree with his modus operandi? Should he alter his issue-based themes for next season?

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