Faridoon Shahryar's Blog

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"I Have Lost A Lot Of Money On Satyamev Jayate": Aamir Khan

Faridoon: Now Aamir, you have taken up many contentious issues you know, you have may be in a way upset a lot of people as well. You have spoken about Satyendra Dubey, you have spoken about Rizwan, which has earned you a lot of respect as well, that finally someone has actually spoken about these guys. But at the same time, whatever battle you have had with the entire medical fraternity, not the entire medical fraternity, people who are doing malpractices as far as female infanticide is concerned, at the same time many a pesticides, lobby of pesticides and the pharmaceutical companies, the lobby of pharmaceutical companies, the Khap Panchayats have had issues with a certain thing that you have been saying as far as honor killing and all these things concerns. At any point of time don't you feel any sort of fear by any chance, because you are actually coming out in the open and these are very very touchy topics as far as India is concerned?

Aamir: Well, the fact of the matter is Faridoon that when you are talking about issues and they talk about the problems that the country is facing and when we are talking about such big issues which our society is facing where 99 percent of the people are getting badly affected by something, certainly there will be 1 percent of the people who are also benefiting from that problem. That is why that problem is existing. Many times the people who are benefiting from the problem are in many ways part of the problem. So while we were doing this show we were well aware that every topic that we take up, there will be people who are part of the problem, and not proper solution or don't want to be part of the solution. We were aware of that right from the very beginning. But that did not deter us from doing what we did because we also believe, and this is what I strongly believe, that I really believe that every Indian wants to contribute to our country, wants to contribute to the betterment of our country. Every Indian loves his country or her country. And initially a person will get upset with me or my team. Nahin yaar yeh hamaare bare mein aise kyun bol raha hai, yaar yeh hamaare nuksaan ki baat kyun kar raha hai. But main kisike nuksaan ki baat nahin kar raha hoon, main desh ke bhale ki baat kar raha hoon, society ke bhale ki baat karne ki koshish kar raha hoon atleast, that's my attempt. So I think that initially the person may get disturbed but in the long run, the person will realize that you know what he is trying to say is for everyone's benefit, because we are not pointing fingers at anyone. Faridoon, the fact of the matter is that whatever situation we are in, we are all collectively responsible for it. I cannot say just one section of the society is responsible for something. That is not correct and that is not true also. So when we take an issue, we try and understand the root cause of it. Ultimately we are all human beings and we sometimes make mistakes. I also make mistakes in my life, but the key is to try and learn from it and to try to be honest with yourself to see if I can live a life with dignity with love and with respect. So our show in any case does not point fingers at any particular person or group because that is not our purpose, our purpose is not to exclude anyone, our purpose is to include everyone in the solution, and everyone has to be a part of that solution. For example, when you say pharmaceutical company. The pharmaceutical companies are doing a great job also, they are making the medicines, and I think the pharmaceutical companies can earn a lot of money even by providing generic medicines because there are people who would prefer to have branded medicines. The people who are well-off financially will continue to buy branded medicines, but those people who cannot afford branded medicines for them generic medicines would be available. So in my opinion the business will grow, it will not become less, according to me. 

Faridoon: Now Aamir, what is being said is that, what you have started off has been phenomenal, you have had around 1 billion impressions on internet, which is I think, no show has ever had that before. Even in terms of reach within India you have had around many channels that the show was going on, in many languages. You also wrote extensively in lots of newspapers as well as regional newspapers usmein bhi aapke translations chape gaye the. You spoke on All India Radio as well. You have started a wonderful thing, it's been a 3 and a half months thing and aapne kaha hai that ant nahin shuruwat hai and dil pe lagegi tabhi baat banegi. You know you have started a fantastic thing and its like 4 months, but still the sceptics will say that abhi aapka show aapka khatam ho gaya hai, now what? Isko asp sustain kaise kareinge. 

Aamir: I will tell you what our plans are. First of all I didn't know what to react to the sceptics and critics because they, I mean they are not really looking for my reply also. But I will tell you Faridoon, what our plans are. What are plans are that every 6 months, like today on 15th August we did a special episode of Satyamev Jayate, it took us through the journey. Similarly on 26th of January, ko hum ek aur show kareinge, which is 6 months from now. So 6 months from now we will again see that each 13 topics that we took up, where have we reached now after 6 months. Next August on 15th August, again after 6 months we will check where have we reached. So every 6 months we will have a special show just to see where these original 13 topics which we started out with, what has the progress that has been made in these 13 topics, that is number one. Number two in this 1 year in any case our research of season 2 has begun. So our season 2 research is going on and it will take us year to do the research, thereafter we start shooting for season 2 and that will be on-air in a year or year and a half from now. So in  a year and a half, you will have season 2 on-air, but in the interval period every 6 months we will be doing a special episode, just to keep tabs on where we have reached. 

FS: I have read somewhere that you guys have also, may be taken some sort of office or something  for Satyamev Jayate, some building or something, I read somewhere. Is there any truth in that?

AK: No, we don't need to, I mean the Aamir Khan Productions office is there, we work out of an office, half the times we are working out of our homes. 

Will the website continue, will you continue just keeping the tab on the website?

AK : Yes, definitely the website will continue. The website will be one very important platform which will take this forward.

FS: Aamir, I just read this autobiography of Kuldip Nayar sahab, he is a very well-renowned journalist, and he has seen the evolution of this country since the partition and he has seen everything. Now what he said was that he had a certain opportunity at some point of time that he was offered that may be he should contest elections and may be, be a part of the system, but he said that I am better off not being a part of the system. But he has written in his autobiography that may be it was a mistake that he made, because if he would have been part of the system may be the kind of impact that he wanted to bring in the society, may be he could have done it. He has done Human Rights work apart from that as well. In that context, you have said repeatedly that you won't be part of the political system, but do you at times think that may be you would want to be part of the political system because I read a column as well and it was said Aamir Khan perfectionist hain, and if he becomes the Prime Minister of the country, he will be the perfect Prime Minister of the country as well. Ke aap jo kaam karte hain bahut hi dil lagake karte hain. 

AK: Faridoon, the fact is that I won't be entering politics because I don't feel that, that is my area of expertise. I don't feel that I will be able to contribute enough to my society, to my country in a field that I don't know anything about. I feel wherever I am today, I am able to infact contribute much more. So Kuldip may have felt differently and may today feel differently about what his actions and decisions were and certainly he knows best about that. But as far as I am concerned I feel, I feel I have a lot to contribute as an artist, and as a creative person I would love to contribute. And I am saying 'lot to contribute' not only in my films, but I am saying even socially or even towards my country or towards my society, I can contribute much more, through what my capabilities are, what my abilities are, what my core strengths are, these are my core strengths, you know communication, telling people stories, touching your emotions, making you laugh or cry, making you think about certain things, these are my core strengths and this is what I also enjoy doing. This is what I know how to do, I don't know how to do anything else. So I don't know anything about politics 

FS: But what has been said is that jaise aap jo bhi kaam karte hain, you literally get into the skin of it. Aapko perfectionist kaha jaata hai and even in the role of a journalist as far as Satyamev Jayate is concerned, people have applauded, even the most political journalists they have acknowledged the way you have gone about and just treated the stories. The stories are not treated in a glamourous manner, bahut hi aise bhi subjects aapne choose kiye hain which are not glamourous at all infact, and the way you just grilled Dr. K.K. Talwar in the doctors episode was something which is, which was phenomenal infact. So in that context, aap jis bhi kaam mein aap jaate hain aap usko, you really get into it. May be you never know in terms of, in some role may be as far as social awareness is concerned, can we see Aamir Khan?

AK: Well I am already doing that through Satyamev Jayate and even through my film, I am doing that. I don't need to get into politics for that. I don't think it's for me you know so I can understand that people may be thinking that, that's my plan. A lot of times we try to find reasons why is this person doing this. It doesn't occur once, you know the reason to make Satyamev Jayate, some people may be feeling arre iske kuch political plans honge, isliye woh aaj yeh show kar raha hai, kal jaake election ladega. So people are more bothered about why I am doing something, as opposed to what I am doing. Why I am doing this, I am very clear because it makes me happy. Why am I doing Satyamev Jayate, because it gives me peace of mind, it makes me happy, that's why I am doing Satyamev Jayate. I feel it's a very enriching experience and you cannot value this in money Faridoon. The experience that I have had over these 2 years is invaluable. The people I have met, amazing people I have met from small villages from different parts of the country. This for me is very important, I am doing this because it makes me happy, I am doing it because it gives me more knowledge, I am doing it because I am passionate about it on a personal level, that's why I am doing it. That's the only reason why I am doing it. There are people who are not use to these situations, people will be haan woh kar raha hai toh yaa toh usko bahut zyaada paise itne mil rahe hain yaa toh, or he has got some political ambitions, but none of this is true. 

FS: You know a lot was said about the entire money thing that you are earning per episode, but at the same time may be, what has not really been spoken about is that you have not been endorsing any products in the last 4 months. None of your advertisements are coming on television. I think may be, no actor would be doing something of that sort that just stop endorsing any product, when you can endorse almost any product for that matter. 

AK: Strictly speaking Faridoon, that these 2 years that I have put into Satyamev Jayate, if I look at it, only from a financial point of view, then I have lost a lot of money. My chartered accountant is most unhappy with me, let me tell you, because he knows how much I could have earned in these 2 years, if I had done a film or if I had continued with my endorsements, I have not renewed some of them and in some cases I have actually terminated some of them. I have requested my clients that you know I no longer want to continue. As a result, in these 2 years what I could have earned is a fairly substantial amount, so financially this is a losing proposition for me. But I am not doing it for money, I am not concerned, I am earning enough. In my life I will want enough, I will continue to earn enough. I am not doing this for money, I am doing it because as I said earlier, I just feel happy doing this. I feel like doing this, I have always followed my heart and that's what I am continuing to do. 

1 comment:

  1. it was an awesome interview...i have developed an even greater respect than before for Aamir Khan due to his dedication, conviction n passion that he puts in the work in which he truly believes in.

    you are looking dashing n cool in the stylish pose in your current profile picture