Aamir Khan interview
“I presented The Show In The Manner I Felt”
Aamir Khan is all set to launch the second season of his popular chat show Satyamev Jayate. Last season the actor had touched upon sensitive topics like female foeticide, medical malpractices and honor killings in his show. Apparently this did not go down well with some people. There were reports that the actor had ordered a bullet proof car to shoot some of the episodes. This year there is news that the show might throw light on governance and issues related to Lok Sabha Elections 2014.
But Aamir dispels the rumors and says “I have not got threats so don’t go by the rumors.” The show anchored by Aamir himself will be aired on television from March 2. Here the actor talks about his show and the change it created in his personal life:
What did you learn from last year’s show?
I have learnt two lessons one is that when you work in a collective manner there will be progress both socially and economically. Secondly most of our problems finally boiled down to patriarchal thinking which is the root of many other problems. Be it dowry killings or female foeticide.
You ended your last show with Dashrath Manji – the Mountain Man, why and what made you announce the second season in Gaya in Bihar where Dashrath Manjhi broke a mountain and made a road for villagers?
Dashrath was an inspiration to all. I salute his courage and determination. He took 20 years to make a mountain pass irrespective of what people said or laughed at him. A lot of us have negative thoughts and we laugh at people whowe feel will not get very far. It was an inspiring story hence we announced the season 2 there. We wanted to show appreciation for this kind of thinking. We are on that path irrespective of various rumours and allegations.
Are there any topics that you could not touch because of pressure?
There has been no topic which we have not attempted because of pressure. That’s not why we avoid or pick up topics. Our choice of topics comes from our core team. We discuss each of the topics. We get suggestions through the internet. Some of us fight for topics to be included, if the topic is left out the core team feels it’s a current topic and we need to focus on these issues.
You cried during the show, while talking about a touching incident. Could you talk about this?
I presented the show in the manner I felt that it warranted. One of the criticisms from one section was that I cried too much. But that’s how I am. I can’t retain myself. I actually broke down.
The show is being dubbed in Marathi and since you can talk in Marathi why didn’t you dub it in your own voice?
I am doing multiple things after the shoot and will not be able to dub. It would eat into my time. Therefore I didn’t but I would have loved to. Hindi is a language which we use but I am extremely sensitive to the fact that India is a country of languages and I can’t monitor or express in many of them.
You have also sung a song with Honey Singh?
This is the title song and it’s not me alone, while shooting we traveled all over India and met many people. It’s a collage of different age groups, different people, different socio economic backgrounds. There are three or four shots of mine. The concept was that people are a part of this movement and we wanted it to reflect that.
You brought about a change in the system with your show but what changes have you attempted after the show?
My views changed and I also gained knowledge. There were things I didn’t know and would have been shocked to learn. I got to learn the struggling in people’s lives and their strength and dignity. I would be taken aback by strength and purity and innocence. I met a lot of people in the country from different backgrounds. I don’t know if there’s change in me. I felt a lot. I have grown as a person. The biggest lesson I learned is the power of forgiveness. I met a mother who spoke about her son who was killed and spoke about it with a lot of love and dignity and has no anger towards the person who did it to her son. I find that an amazing quality.
What new areas are you going to present this time in your show?
The topics are new, we have not changed the core of the show. We understand and share the different sides of social issues. We want everyone to understand that problem and know its societal impact. We have given it sharper action points. We will show it in parts. It will bring about a change. We will also ask people their opinion and we’re calling the segmetn ‘Vote for Change Campaign.’ We want it to be a medium for people to contact through a missed call or a toll free number or a landline too. We are not a government agency. We look at ourselves as communicators. A change can come when society changes. We are trying to empower viewers with all this. If you want a change in Democracy you will have to work towards it. One of the things we can do is a dynamic website that involves a lot of people. A lot of people feel like doing something for the country. In short they want to contribute. You can give a missed call and people can join in and make effort.
Do you plan to bring such social issues into your films now?
It may happen that way, if I find some story I want to make a film about. However if I find a story I will use it in my show. But if it organically comes as a story from someone else I am happy to do it. My process of selecting films remains what it is. That is creative excitement, but if it is not there I won’t do it. It has to excite me. Different kinds of stories excite me and brings out different facets of me as a human being.
What are the mistakes you made last time and what care are you taking not to repeat them?
I feel that we didn’t make any mistakes. One thing we realized was to involve people more. We have come out with a dynamic website which we made an effort to build. It’s much easier to navigate which keeps the issue alive even after the shoot. We expect people to be more interactive. Many people want to do something but their lives have too many responsibilities and too many demands personally or professionally. Sometimes they may not be strong enough to contribute. But we are giving them the opportunity to contribute. You can keep in touch through your cell phones or land lines.
Many fans don’t like to see you crying, do you plan to do another show to make them laugh?
We always keep these things in mind so we don’t disappoint viewers. We believe that the truth will prevail. We end the show on this note. But I would definitely love to make people laugh.
Do you see yourself as a motivator or changer?
I see myself as a communicator. Saying that I am trying to change society is too audacious a statement; I am trying to engage, trying to understand and trying to share.
What are your thoughts would you like to merge with AAP Party?
I want to be away from politics. I don’t want to be aligned with any political party. Where issues are concerned I will either support or not support a thought or a policy. Therefore I am not aligned with any political party.
Are you doing any films during this year?
I am not shooting a film for the entire year. I am devoting time to Satyamev Jayat not only during shooting but post that. If see a topic and it comes up I am there to devote time.
You have been criticized for your show were there any compliments that stayed with you?
So many people have reasons for liking the show. There was a small percent that were critical of various things. I am not doing it for publicity or making money on the show or to hog the limelight. Many people are cynical and fail to see my intentions. Recently someone told me when I was in a stadium on the way to the commentary box one of the gentleman told me that the show affected him and it changed him. He wasn’t able to pinpoint what it was but said it made him a better person.