The world needs more celebrities like Aamir Khan

Miles apart from your average vain and selfish celebrity, Aamir Khan has been using his influence and popularity to spread public awareness of India’s most controversial social issues.

Indian Bollywood actor, director and producer Aamir Khan launched his pioneering TV show Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails) this May. And he didn’t begin half-heartedly. The show’s first season dived straight in at the deep end of cultural sensitivity to address female feticide, child sexual abuse, dowry system, honour killing and domestic violence.

It’s one thing to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities and NGOs. To create a charity and pay other people to run it for you while it has your name written all over it, boosting your image and your movie/music sales at the same time. This seems to be the extent of most celebrity’s humanitarian side.

But to physically talk to the people you claim to care about, stand up for them, and create a platform for discussion and awareness in an attempt to criminalise social wrongs is something else. Using your influence to make people pay attention to the issues that beg for attention, yet have never been discussed like this before.

In the UK and US, where celebrity culture has become ridiculous, documentary-makers and producers abide by the trends of the “infotainment” industry. Viewers are only interested in serious programmes if they are hosted/presented by a celebrity, resulting in shows where comedian Lenny Henry is put in the middle of a Kenyan slum.

But the only way to spread awareness and to open minds beyond superficiality is to educate. Once these issues are known to all, and their negative impacts realised, the road to change is paved.

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7 comments

  1. Hi! I just completed a four week programme in India and had my first exposure to Bollywood through Aamir Khan’s film “Three Idiots”. Passed all the singing and dancing, I was so surprised by the number of social issues that are raised throughout the film; from student suicides to dowry pressures on Indian families. Just from that three hour exposure into what I thought was for mere entertainment, I learnt a lot about this complex culture.

    Great blog! I’m a British Born Chinese myself and your blog content is really interesting!

  2. I am so impressed that he is using his celebrity to educate people. I have always loved his movies, but now I truly respect him and what he stands for. I think we need to also follow suit on the other side of the border in Pakistan. I just don’t know any celebrity who have a similar draw power as Aamir Khan. His show is as popular here, though.

  3. Woow.. good to know that u also noticed the show, really proud of AMIR’s attempt, to do soemthing like this in a country like INDIA, u really needs gutts:):)

  4. There are some English versions of the show on the Internet. What is going on through this show is simply profound addressing issues as abortion, slavery, the handicapped to name a few that are issues in India in an unimaginable scale.

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