The Khan who epitomises being different

By Barrister A B M Hamidul Mishbah, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Managing Partner, Old Bailey Chambers, Founder, Bangladesh IP Forum.

This new avatar as a host outshines Khan's celebrity superstar status arrived at through numerous successful movies.

Once upon a time there came this boy next door who captivated the movie audience with his innocent look and naïve romantic performance in “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak”, the evergreen super hit Bollywood film. Over time, this boy spent more than two decades in the Indian film industry and won zillion hearts, not only with his performances but also through his passion for film making, selection of scripts, innovative marketing techniques and his fresh and out of the box thinking.
Unlike any other ordinary budding star, Aamir Khan did not pause with the overwhelming success of his debut film “Qayamat Se Qayamat Taq”. His daunting level of commitment, excellence and perfection helped him to evolve with the passage of time as an actor, producer, director, and lately as a TV anchor! His 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 and working towards solutions for the issues plaguing India and common to neighbouring countries as well. Here again he stood a class apart from the Bollywood film fraternity who are often seen hosting reality shows.
However, this is not the first time Aamir’s innovative efforts endeavour to focus on a social issue. Aamir has striven to underline a social issue with almost every film he has been part of. In his first directorial venture “Taare Zameen Par”, he explores the life and creative imagination of an eight- year old boy who suffers from dyslexia and exposes in a plain yet spectacular manner, how dyslexic children are treated in 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” with a different approach.
In “3 Idiots”, a satire on the education system, Aamir twirled his character titled “Rancho” into a curious and clever one playing a rather over smart character as penned by the writer and director Rajkumar 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 a petty involvement in the films, Aamir on numerous occasions has hit the headlines for disagreeing with his directors as in his view, filmmaking is more of story-telling. His creative vision drove him to produce and act in “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 productions 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 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.
Nevertheless, Aamir’s honest commitment to 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 engagement in every aspect of the show including topic selection, primary research, promotion and experts’ testimonies 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 the victims’ personal experiences added with the illustrated fieldwork has sketched the precise fruitful acceptance of the show. This new avatar as a host outshines Khan’s celebrity superstar status arrived at through numerous successful movies.
“Satyamev Jayate” was spread over 13-episodes each recounting compelling stories. Within a course of 13 weeks, “Satyamev Jayate” generated over a billion impressions on the web, reflecting where society stands and where it should move further to find potential solutions instead of simply highlighting the problem.
The debut episode on female foeticide hit the right cord as 99.8 percent of viewers agreed to the idea of introducing a fast-track court to prosecute doctors who perform such operations. Upon revealing the results by Aamir, the Parliamentary Panel of India almost agreed on the spot to amend the court system accordingly. Following the episode on medical malpractices in India, the Indian Parliamentary Panel invited Aamir and his team to share their knowledge gained while the field investigation were underway. In connection to the airing of the fourth episode the Indian Medical Council suspended 13 doctors for committing medical malpractices. The triumphant expedition for “Satyamev Jayate” had even reached out to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The 10th episode that focused on the lives of over three lakh manual scavengers who are also treated ‘untouchables’ in the Indian society led Aamir to meet Manmohan Singh to highlight the issue and attained his assurance of taking practical action.
“Satyamev Jayate” is the ultimate example of a visionary heart wrapped with enthusiastic ingenuity. It is a 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, with an in-depth knowledge of the historical background and a social structure in common, one may take some minutes off and ponder how Aamir has initiated this battle against all the evil practices prevailing in a society. All it takes is keen visionary heart to reach towards the horizon. It is not about being different, but the rarest power to epitomize the word different.