Anil Thakraney: Aamir wants to play God

30 Apr,2012

By Anil Thakraney

 

In 2007 when I met Aamir Khan for an interview (Mumbai Mirror), we brought up the issue of his glaring absence from television. Every single big Bollywood hero was busy raking in big bucks from the small screen. The actor appeared quite closed to the idea of television. He said various channels keep approaching him with proposals but they don’t interest him. And added that maybe he will do TV one day when something substantial comes along.

 

Well, that day has arrived, May 6 to be precise. When Satyamev Jayate goes on air. Aamir has pulled all stops in ensuring that the show gets a roaring opening. Mind blowing marketing budget. Loads of talent in the production team. Simultaneous broadcast on Star and DD. Dubbing in four southern languages. And lots more. Not to speak of the content itself, which going by Khan’s movies, is likely to be both, entertaining and engaging. The challenge for the Star Network would be to recover the huge costs and make some profits. Not sure how that will pan out. What makes their work even tougher is that the show will have just 13 episodes.

 

However, what caught my attention is the slot chosen for Satyamev Jayate. 11am, Sunday. This is very interesting because it demolishes the popular definition of prime time television. Clearly this is Aamir’s brain child. Guess he wants to re-create ‘appointment viewing’ which Ramayana and Mahabharata used to enjoy in the late eighties/early nineties. This is a big gamble. UrbanIndiahas totally changed in the last two decades. In those days we in the cities had nothing much to do on Sunday mornings. Now we have shopping malls, pubs, dates, multiplexes, Facebook, Twitter and many other distractions. So appointment viewing is going to be a tall task. And this explains the team’s decision to use good ol’ Doordarshan. So that if the urban audiences ditch them, the numbers garnered through DD’s terrestrial broadcast will save the day. Smart thinking.

 

Anyways, like many other Indians I will be glued to the TV on May 6. 11am. And will also keep looking out at the streets from my window. To check if they are deserted. Like it used to happen when the gods descended into our living rooms on those lazy Sundays.

 

Can Aamir match the gods? That’s the billion dollar question.

 

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PS: Too, too brilliant for words. This is the sort of stuff naukri.com and other employment portals ought to be doing. It takes a rare advertisement for me to want to the join the ad world again. This one does.

 

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