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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

The Truth Paste

Aamir’s TV activism is a blockbuster. But does it help to sprinkle stardust on real issues? The jury is out.

The Truth Paste
The Truth Paste
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In the sprawling Prince’s Suite of the palatial Rambagh Palace hotel in Jaipur, Aamir Khan, spectacles perched enticingly on nose, fingers poised on the iPad in his hands, looks a visibly happy man. The official TRPS for Satyamev Jayate are yet to come in, but the Twittermeter started ticking soon after the actor’s social issues-based blockbuster show debuted last week, eliciting a stupendous “58 million impressions” for tweets on the show’s first episode on female foeticide. The potential viewership on Doordarshan, the Star bouquet and regional channels is estimated to be 400 million.

Not just that, the full episode was viewed by 1.5 lakh people in less than a day on YouTube. The show’s first telecast in the UK was so huge that it occupied the second spot in the popularity charts after Sky Sports, a first for an Indian show. A Pakistan channel is eager to grab its rights. Aamir’s fee of Rs 3.5 crore per episode is by far the highest charged by a celebrity anchor, that too for a non-prime time, cause-driven show. It’s fetching a record Rs 10 lakh for a 10-second ad spot, about three times the rate for the current IPL season. Main sponsors are doling out anywhere from Rs 6-18 crore to ride the Satyamev bandwagon.

But beyond the numbers, the show has managed to strike a huge chord with the Indian audience in other ways. Vineet Kumar, media critic and author of Mandi Mein Media, calls it a “TV edition of the Anna andolan”. Like the latter, Aamir’s TV activism has attracted a spontaneous, collective response and an instant connect with the cause. So far at the receiving end for his “quickfix and gimmicky” associations with causes and for “hijacking” serious issues like the Narmada...

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