Aamir Khan
Riaz Naqvi
Friday, May 25, 2012

Why you might —or might not — want to be like him

{Optimise Your Life}

In the News: Aamir Khan

Who: Actor, director, producer and Bollywood icon

Why: His debut TV talk show is in the hot seat


Make a difference. Satyamev Jayate, Aamir’s new talk show, is tackling serious Indian social issues head on without grand promises or fear of taboo subjects. The first two episodes have done a commendable job of raising awareness for the tragedies of female foeticide and child sex abuse. Several commentators have called Khan ‘a more pensive Oprah’. No small praise, indeed.

Consistency. The mighty Khans of Indian cinema — Aamir, Salman, Saif and Shah Rukh all enjoy their own frenzied fan followings, but it could be argued that there’s only one King Khan of consistency. From Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, to the Oscar-nominated Lagaan to 3 Idiots, Aamir has continued raising his game. At just one or two films a year, he may be far from the most prolific of the Khans, but quality beats quantity. Every time.

Be modest. Aamir is heralded as an icon of modesty. This isn’t all just marketing fluff though — he actually is one. How many people would turn down attending the unveiling of their own wax statue at Madam Tussaud’s? Not many.


Go over peoples’ heads. Despite a media blitz running for over a month prior to its debut, and even special screenings in villages where people lack even television sets, Aamir’s show didn’t do that well on its debut, ratings wise. A figure of 3, while respectable, is still miles behind the likes of Kaun Banega Crorepati. Perhaps the serious subject matter isn’t for everyone?

Milk a good cause for money. It’s great that Aamir is using his star power to highlight important social issues, it really is. However, he has taken some stick from the Rajasthan health minister for “bringing up the issue for money”, pointing out existing budgets to tackle the female foeticide problem… and the Rs 30 million Khan makes per episode for his show. Awkward.

Bite off more than you can chew. Having received almost widespread critical acclaim (health ministers aside), it will surely be immensely difficult for Aamir to maintain this standard of viewing for audiences. The problem with issue-based shows in India is that masses soon lose interest: will he be able to pull off a coup?


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