In India, Bollywood star Aamir Khan has created a highly popular talk show that delves into serious issues from domestic violence to the murder of female children. An estimated 400 million people in India have tuned in to see 'Satyamev Jayte' (The Truth Alone Prevails).
Despite not having a prime time evening slot, the show, which premiered on May 6 of this year, has been seen by about one in three Indian citizens. Social issues that the show has covered include female foeticides (the murder of girl babies), child sexual abuse, dowry traditions, honour killings, domestic violence, and alcoholism. And the show's viewers seem engaged: following Sunday's episode about alcohol abuse, for example, the Alcoholics Anonymous India website crashed, and call centres set up by AA received more than 31,000 calls.
Talking to Smartwire ahead of the premiere of 'Satyamev Jayte', Aamir, who is considered one of the leading actors of Hindi cinema, said he had initial doubts about the show, which he spent two years developing: "I cannot say I understand TV completely. I was earlier scared to go ahead with the project. I can only say I have made this show with complete honesty and without compromising on anything". And despite the potentially inflammatory subject matter, Aamir says he's not out to "change anybody's life": "When I speak about change, it's about changing myself. I am not interested in changing the world. Who am I to change anyone's life?"
According to India Today, the show may well get a second season, depending on Aamir's busy schedule. He is currently committed to two films, 'Dhoom 3' and Rajkumar Hirani's 'PK', and says he will decide on the show after he has filmed them. Aamir is pleased with the show's reception so far - "We have received a dream response", he told radio station 92.7 Big FM - but he says the team behind the show has struggled to look at the impact of what they have broadcast to date: "So many things have happened that has made it difficult for our researcher team to go back to the fields and actually find out the actual impact we have created".
Aamir was in the red chair last season, and he spoke to George about the realities of life in India, the power of forgiveness, misinformation in the media, and his career in film:
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