For the past few weeks I have watchedAamir Khan on TV raising crucial social issues on his show. I like the way he does it though I know many who don't. I know why they don't. The flaws are obvious.
To begin with, the show gives us the distinct (if somewhat false) impression that it intends to repair social ills. But as you keep watching it, you realise Aamir is a voyeur, not a reformist. He is not a voyeur like we journalists are. Journalists don't just point out social ills. They campaign against them. They stick their neck out for what they believe in. Aamir does neither though he adopts the tone and demeanour of a journalist. He presents the problem and then steps back, expecting the political system to repair it. And that, as we all know, never happens. So the show is an escapist tear-jerker. It will not change the world around you. It does not even intend to.
That makes it doubly frustrating. When someone points out what is wrong, you expect the person to set it right (which a leader can do, if he really wants to) or put so much pressure on the political system that it is forced to act (as a journalist tries to do, not always with much success). Satyamev Jayate attempts neither. Aamir sheds a few tears. So do we and then, next week, we move on to another problem, another tear jerking show, another catharsis. No one knows what to do with all these sad stories. If they had appeared in newspapers, people would have filed PILs or RTI queries to see how they could push the issue to a point where the Government is forced to act. For, as we all know, no Government works on its volition. Since Aamir is the interlocutor here, they expect him to do that.
Movie stars may be larger thanlifeon screen. But when it comes to taking on the political system, they have no clue how to do it. In fact, I doubt if they want to. In real life, unlike their imagined screen roles, they do not see politicians as enemies. They see them as peer group: People with power and money. Journalists, on the other hand, often put their life on the line chasing stories. I know because like many others I have faced countless court cases, harassment, intimidation, death threats. But we take it in our stride because we see it as our job. A movie star does not see exposing the truth as his job. His job is creating illusions. So while he may occasionally endorse a cause, he will be the first to step aside when things get rough. I don't blame them. It's not what they set out to do.