Sunday, May 6, 2012

Satyamev Jayate: A Star is Reborn

Less than 24 hours after Satyamev Jayate was launched it has 600,000 likes on its Facebook page and is No.2 on Twitter #Trends for India. Its going to be India's top TV show, ever. 

It's not at 9 pm prime time and nor is it about making pre-adolescent children dress up and dance like promiscuous adults, it's not saas-bahu mirchi masala, its not about riding bikes or getting laid, its not IPL,  its not a franchised game show that offers lots of money, and everybody was fully clothed through out the 90 minute episode. It does have Dirty Pictures, but these were of another kind - of the filth that lies below the smile of India Shining. The kind of stuff that is dangerous for a famous Khan to be messing around with.

But this Khan is different.  Everytime you think you have got his number, he goes and completely scrambles it and comes up with a whole new source code. This star just keeps re-innventing himself, keeps getting re-born. Its got to take enormous courage to do what he is doing with his 11 am Sunday morning slot, but if the first episode is anything to go by it's his enormous preparation and eye for detail at work. Here are 10 things I noticed which I think were NOT accidental:

1. Emotional Set-up around "Maa" not "Daughter". Man this was a masterpiece.
2. Casting to represent all rungs all sides of society. These ladies could express themselves without being over the top.
3. Powerful use of Data especially to make the point : "It's not the poor labourers and villagers guys, its you who are the murderers."
4. Candid camera footage to shock and visually establish proof
5. Taking suggestive route rather than rabble rousing; constantly reinforcing allegiance to the law and saying "we are not the judges"
6. Bringing in examples of hope from that village in Punjab.
7. The Chiriya song was an absolute killer; broke the monotony and gave time to reflect.
8. Stayed away from hype. Bringing in experts who were real folks doing real work, and believable.
9. Demanded ownership by invoking the power-is-with-you "jaadu ki charri"
10. Stuck his neck out to personally take action and write that letter

My Favourite Tweet this morning:

He changed the meaning of Word Idiot. Now he has changed the Idiot box. Well done Aamir. 

What do you think?


  1. I had missed the show (given my current horizontal state), so watched the whole thing on Youtube after reading your blog!

    Among many other things I was struck by the fine "emotional tone" of the whole show - that walked a tight-rope between empathy, outrage and hope; just right without overdoing.

    I think this is a path-breaking piece of public advocacy; the equivalent of an INCONVENIENT TRUTH for India. Can we do something like this for education?

  2. I am sure (I hope) he will do one on education....Yes, it was very JR

  3. It's a wonderful show. More than the concept, I praise his APPLEite attitude (hope the term sounds ok :)). His marketing skills are humongous, he has a knack of making it look and sound big yet make it simple.

    IBN live had started a similar show "Zindagi Live" a few years back and we know where it is now.

    What apple did to microsofts,ibms and sonys, he has done to idiot box with his aura.

  4. I am not an ardent fan of movies or actors. But I can say one thing for sure; it has been after a very long time that an actor of hindi cinema has taken up his 'social role'. The actors, music directors of yesteryears like Manoj Kumar, Nargis, Khayyam... were conscious of their duty towards their nation and fulfilled it very well. It is a pity that now we have movie stars who are too busy endorsing various brands and taking care of their 'careers' by getting clicked with politically correct people at various functions but do not have real sense of duty towards their society or nation.

  5. I think celebrities (or politicians for that matter) are a thin-slice of society, and are merely a visible sign of the times. Most people you see around are self, career, and material focussed , sometimes obsessively so. But I suspect it takes more than a sense of duty to do stuff like this....I think its self-confidence and genuine ability to take risk. Shah Rukh Khan famously once said "why fix whats not broken"

  6. Mala... I am so so so glad that you penned down what most of us (I would liek to believe so) think about the show. Atleast I totally do. Infact I got so mad at the negative remarks and sadistic comments and pics on fb about the show and the man that I began complaining to my colleague (who has no idea about the show). The best line "the filth that lies below the smile of India Shining" makes me totally agree with you about the content of the show. I am not into twitter but can't agree more with the tweet you mentioned. Way to go girl :-)