Anil Thakraney: Satyamev Jayate: Handkerchief entertainment

13 Jul,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Okay, the nation’s most expensive and the most-hyped TV show is drawing to a close. In a few weeks from now Satyamev Jayate will be history (there may or may not be a sequel). In fact, host Aamir Khan’s already moved on to what he does and what he knows best: Making movies. The hero’s strutting around in his ‘Dhoom 3’ look these days. It’s a good time to do an appraisal, and I have three large points to make.


The ratings of SJ have been disappointing. It reported an okayish 4 when the show began, but in recent times the TVR points have dipped to about 3. And that is sad. This means India isn’t really euphoric over a TV show that discusses serious public issues. Dance reality shows enjoy better ratings. We can’t blame this on the channel or the producer. And this is also the reason I doubt they’ll put out another season.


I also doubt if the show has made any impact on the nation. And I had expressed this concern when I first wrote about SJ. Because every Sunday, a new issue is being raked up, the one discussed a few weeks ago gets erased from the memory. In that sense, SJ has ended up becoming what I call ‘handkerchief entertainment’. Weep a bit and then discuss where to step out for lunch. This also tells me entertainment channels cannot change this nation. News channels can, but they have other problems which we’ll discuss another day.


The onus then falls on the star host to keep the pressure going on the various issues he’s brought up. The only reason SJ even scores a TVR of 4 is Aamir Khan. Take him out of the equation and it will earn less than 0.5 points. It’s his charisma that drives the show. Which is why if Aamir doesn’t keep the fires burning, no one else will. But obviously the actor won’t and can’t do this. He has many other fishes to fry, and in any case his involvement in public causes in the past has been at a superficial level. So there’s no reason to believe it will be any different this time.


Net net: An average performer. A nice Sunday tear jerker. Even voyeuristic to some extent. But all those of us who believed SJ will change India got a might egg on the face. Just as Aamir hummed ‘Meri jaan meri jaan Sunday ke ande’ in the show’s promos.


* * *


PS: Here’s a respected TV producer saying that advertising is killing the television medium. Of course he makes valid points. However it’s tough to visualize a situation where TV is freed of these irritating ads. Unless subscribers are ready to pay a lot of money to broadcast stations. That’s never gonna happen. Also, if there were no ad breaks, what happens to the loo breaks? 🙂




Post a Comment 

One response to “Anil Thakraney: Satyamev Jayate: Handkerchief entertainment”

  1. Memymca says:

    I think the entire media is to blame for India is not euphoric about serious issues. It is like exposing adults to a strip tease show… this is because media just reports and gets done with it…follow up action too must be taken..for example, if every SJ episode is followed up with a Karan Thapar episode involving the “accused” as well as the lawmakers face to face, accountability will come to the fore and solutions found…then India will take it seriously and media will really be going that extra mile…