End of Season 1 of Satyamev Jayate: The good, the bad and the ugly truths of life

31 Jul,2012

By Meghna Sharma


In the past 13 weeks, one show has done what no other show has been able to in a long time – get people face-to-face with the ugly truths of our society. Aamir Khan’s television debut, Satyamev Jayate, was the most-talked about show even months before it was aired. It was touted to revolutionize the Sunday morning slot on the Indian television.


From the very first episode till its last episode on July 29, the show was able to create a lot of buzz. People shared their views on the social ills the show highlighted on social networking sites. The news channels and newspapers carried expert views and opinions on the show. It didn’t back down from highlighting the fact that a country of one billion lives like ostriches when it comes to taking action against such evils.


However, inspite of all the hue and cry, one question still remains on everyone’s mind: was it really effective?


MxMIndia spoke to industry experts, journalists and even activists after the show was aired on May 6 and almost all of them gave it thumbs up. Now that the show has ended, we got in touch with the same people to know their opinions…


TRP: the only yardstick?

Chandradeep Mitra

For any channel and show, the TRPs it gets are the yardstick at which its popularity is measured on. Star India’s Satyamev Jayate which premiered across nine channels – Star Plus, Star Pravah, DD National, ETV, Star Utsav, Vijay, Star Jalsha, Star World & Asianet – got a rating of an average 4 TVR for the CS4+ in the Hindi speaking markets and an average of 4.9 TVR for the All 4+, according to the TAM viewership data. But, as the weeks rolled on, the ratings dipped.


Many, however, feel that such shows cannot be measured by TRPs as they are much bigger than that. “For a show like this, ratings alone cannot be the yardstick. One must not forget that the it was a non-entertainment show and was aired on Sunday mornings.  For a slot and content like that, the show did very good,” said Chandradeep Mitra, managing partner, Anvention.


Anil Sathiraju

He added: “We must look at the social impact it created and I’m sure it will remain in people’s memories for a long time. Apart from the buzz created on social networking sites and getting eyeballs, I’m sure now companies will also increase their CSR activities as it highlighted the work done by a few.”


Similarly, Anil Sathiraju, Head – south, Mudra Max Media, too feels that content and impact are more important than the ratings: “What the show has done to the morning slot is evident enough, that it made people sit up and take notice. And I’m sure now most channels, including Star, will want to revive the slot and come up with shows which will not make the slot redundant.”


Sundeep Nagpal

The show wasn’t developed and promoted for TRPs, said Sundeep Nagpal, founder director, Stratagem Media. “It was applicable for the masses and not many shows of such genre have been created. Hence, it would be wrong to judge it on the ratings…it’s much more than that. It bought out the issues which are prevalent but under the surface. For example how many of us in Mumbai knew about Khap panchayats? The show is a turning point in the Indian television history.”


The much-hyped show even went on to charge an exorbitant amount for the 10-second advertisement slot which was sold at thrice the usual rates. “For an advertiser, the show was the best medium to reach its audiences. For the first time, a show was created, which in turn created two new stakes – timeslot and a new category of a show. So, many didn’t hesitate in paying that extra for the quality they were getting in return,” explained Llyod Mathias, director GreenBean Ventures and former CMO of Tata Teleservices and Motorola.


Aamir Khan vs Content

Anita Nayyar

According to the media planner, Anita Nayyar, who is moving back to her former agency Havas from Bennett, Coleman & Company (BCCL) by August, initially the show got the hype only because it was anchored by the actor and the fact that the concept of the show was well hidden. However, for a show like Satyamev Jayate, it’s the content which plays a bigger role.


“Satyamev Jayate is a socially relevant show and in the beginning, I think, it did mobilize people. However, in between it lost its public appeal. And I’m not surprised as such shows only appeal to a certain section of the society. Hence, it wasn’t even able to garner the TRPs it deserved,” said Ms Nayyar.


She explained that though the show was anchored by a popular actor like Aamir Khan there was a gap between enlightenment and mobilization. “The show was supposed to mobilize people, but it was only able to highlight the evils which we all know exist. Nonetheless, it was a good show.”


Voicing the same opinion, Sarla Bijapurkar, sociologist, believes that if one has to score Aamir Khan vis-a-vis the content of the show, Aamir would win. “Public memory is very short and everything will be lost if there is no follow-up. For instance, take the episode where diktats of Khap panchayats were highlighted. Has anything changed? No, we still have such bodies making people’s lives miserable. Sometimes, when one hears or reads about such instances, it makes you wonder if we, as a society, take two steps backward for every one step taken forward.”


“For me, the show will only mean something if it is able to do a follow-up on the issues highlighted. Also, instead of raising a new issue every time, I think, they should have focused on fewer and discussed about different dimensions related to a particular issue. Maybe, then it would have been able to brought about a change,” said Ms Bijapurkar.


Waiting for a change…

Ranjona Banerji

However, there are many who think that the show was a success and was able to do more than just generate public interest and will eventually lead to some change as evolutions don’t happen overnight.


Ranjona Banerji, a senior journalist and contributing editor, MxMIndia, feels that the show did justice to the concept though there were a few dodges like the show being too emotional, sometimes. The first two episodes – female foeticide and child sexual abuse – were able to create a lot of public interest. “Apart from these two episodes, the episodes which moved me were the ones on disability and senior citizens. The show did the work of a journalist and was even able to answer a few questions. Hopefully, they’ll tweak the show a little bit and come up with a second season – better and stronger.”


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One response to “End of Season 1 of Satyamev Jayate: The good, the bad and the ugly truths of life”

  1. Radha dutta says:

    if the show did not garner TRPS and even did not lead to social mobilisation – on what parameters was it successful – Just because it had Amir Khan. I don’t think there would be a season 2 ever.