A show on television with Aamir Khan as the host, a trailer that shows him traveling to different places in India, from Kochi to Ladakh meeting people there, a song written and composed brilliantly well as an earmark of the show, the many ads and promos, all in a way that instill interest; there were, I must admit, more than ample reasons to wait for 11 am, May 6, 2012 and tune into Star Plus channel.
When one has huge expectations, reality's bound to fall short and going along that line, personally, I was left little disappointed when I saw Aamir Khan walk into a chic, air conditioned studio with audience seated in a gallery around him. May be it was the snippet of the show aired repeatedly that made me think Aamir will travel places, gather information about local problems of people, highlight them and treat them wisely, with a difference and garner public support in favor of solving them. I grew little upset when Aamir called out few names and talked to these selected few on a one on one basis, it only brought back memories of the once very popular Aap Ki Adalat show by Rajat Sharma and Aap ki Kacheri show by Kiran Bedi. The formats do not match exactly since Aamir keeps repeating during the show that individual cases discussed are under judicial question and he is none to judge/provide opinion but somewhere, there's a meek prayer that this new initiative by the perfectionist of the film industry must not fall into the same league as shows that have been aired before.
The disappointment did not abate as the issue discussed was female foeticide, an issue so pernicious in our country that it is too difficult to address it on TV and in one episode. Aamir questions different people, from a not so well educated lady to a doctor by practice about their personal grievances in this subject; we get to know that irrespective of where they hail from, their social, literary and economic background they all have been meted out the same treatment and have faced brutal discrimination; they have been both a criminal and a victim. Aamir fervently tries to impart knowledge by telling that the mother in no way determines the sex of an unborn child in a few sentences, even then I cannot applaud this effort. Reasons - literacy does not help, economic well being does not also help, even passage of time and generations does not help, nothing appears to eradicate this evil.
I am sure a few hundreds listened to Aamir when he said Athithi Devo Bhava and stopped spitting and throwing trash on the streets, may be even stopped stalking foreign visitors in crowded markets. But for the message sent out last Sunday afternoon, I cannot believe even a 0.001 % change will ensue in the positive direction for no domestic, national or international voice has ever been able to batter this evil notion.
Aamir chose to end the first episode with some light moments when he interviewed a group of men in a village in Haryana, all above 35 years of age and yet unmarried, unmarried due to dearth of girls in their community. These men requested Aamir to solve their problem and cheerfully said they would even nominate Salman Khan as their team captain. There were ripples of laughter but the bleak truth was lying barren in front of us all.
It is said that the website dedicated to this show crashed the same day due to heavy online traffic, there were thousands of tweets congratulating the show and its makers, true and well deserved, I am very happy for it. But there is something amiss as far as I am concerned, few more Sundays would be required for me to conclude if TRUTH REALLY TRIUMPHS.