Surprise! (On Satyamev Jayate, Lagaan)

*Thunderous applause for the Lagaan (2001) team* 

Well, not much of a surprise, is it?

The film Lagaan celebrated its eleventh anniversary this past Friday (June 15). This year, I won't be hosting a Lagaan week at this blog. This is not because I've run out of ideas for posts on the film that I've credited for a lot at so many levels. It's just that work and life have me adapting to enough changes professionally and personally that I've had to put on hold some of my recreational pursuits. My movie consumption frequency and, of course, this blog, have suffered as a result. But I'm hoping to change that. At least I've been watching more movies. :)

Our great friend (and far more committed blogger) Darshit (@dunkdaft) has this post at his blog in celebration of the Lagaan anniversary. Lagaan Week posts from the past are available at this link.

Shifting gears a bit now..., who has been watching Satyamev Jayate? (Official website:

What do you think of the show?

I'd been so disconnected from it all that I didn't realize the show had started airing until I saw this a few weeks ago:

Yes, I might've been living under a rock for a bit.

From what I'm seeing, this Aamir Khan Productions product is fostering a more widespread discussion on core, hard-hitting issues facing India than any of the films of the production house (some of which have aimed to do just that while entertaining), and if you've seen any episode, you probably would agree in thinking it's perhaps rightfully so.

Similar to the most popular of popular films but unlike most television shows, it appears Satyamev Jayate is slowly raking in and somewhat uniting Indian viewership around the world, coming to them (all episodes are available online for free on the show's YouTube channel) instead of waiting for the prospective audience to take more action than simply tuning in. In other words, the distribution channels are correct and the superstardom of the actor is probably at its peak to take advantage of the opportunity. The hope is, of course, that something good comes from it all, no matter its magnitude.

As Bhuvan says in Lagaan right after accepting the proposed challenge to play a cricket match to relieve his village of tax, all that's needed sometimes is a chance to make a difference.

Satyamev Jayate has created that chance.

Am I the only one who wants to partly credit the success of Lagaan 11 years ago with the show having that chance today?



Joss said...

Good to hear from you again tBF. Thanks for the link to Aamir's tv shows. I'm afraid I've let my Hindi slip over the last few years because of pressure of work. I'd really like to understand what Aamir is saying here though. But, it feels like that wouldn't be too hard with a bit of revision either; he speaks so beautifully and his diction is so clear. (Well, of course he does; he's not just another tv presenter.)

I'm finding it hard to fit in time to watch movies too. But, I still hold Bollywood evenings, and a few weeks ago introduced three more groups of friends and students to TZP. I needed tissues for each showing! I hope you can get back into the blog. I don't even know what films I'm missing these days.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi, Joss! Hope you're well. It's been an interesting show so far. I want to say I can appreciate where Aamir's headed with it and why. He's hardly the first to discuss what he's discussing, but hopefully *something* good can come from it. (If you could understand it, you might need some more tissues!)

Bollywood evenings?! Three more groups of friends and students introduced to TZP?! Do tell more!

I'm thinking of writing mini-reviews of sorts. Hopefully others out there haven't given up on me entirely, although I probably deserve little benefit of the doubt given my track record with this blog over the last year and a half. :)

Thanks so much for your visit and comment! We'll talk about some of the newer movies in a bit.


dunkdaft said...

Great to see you back man. (and sorry for late comment)

Absolutely, there IS a connection between SJ and Lagaan. And Oh, we have the same director on board - Satyajit Bhatkal.

And you must have already came to know about its effects too. Read This or This.

Though effect is slower then expected, Aamir's show IS making impact. And there, he wins.

hannah said...

Hello tBF, I was starting to wonder where you had disappeared and was about to email you when I saw your post. Tried sending a comment but I guess you did not receive it.
I have been watching SMJ right from the first episode. Actually I had the channels installed the week before so I could watch Aamir!!! Well, what to do, we are so "parched" for his movies... I like the program very much and I think it is also well-balanced and not sensational as some journalists like to do with such issues. I like it also because it shows the reality that Indians have to live with and also made me understand why bollywood movies are so popular - they are the perfect escape from a hard reality.
It's really a treat for me to watch SMJ every sunday...

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit! I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees the connection -- sure, Aamir had made socially conscious films before, but none as important and significant as Lagaan. I like that link you shared..."Aamir Khan is emerging as the brand ambassador for the issues..."

Though effect is slower then expected, Aamir's show IS making impact. And there, he wins.

This is true. If even a small percentage of the issues is resolved, we ALL win.

theBollywoodFan said...

Wow, Hannah, that's some serious commitment, having channels installed and all!

You're very right about the escapism factor with Indian movies, especially what's perceived as 'core' Bollywood. You also bring up a good point about the balance in the shows -- it's not all doom and gloom, and I think if there's a parallel we can draw to his films, it's that it's almost a call to action, although the films were more subtle with them.

The state of journalism in India is pretty pathetic for the consumers of the journalism. I think they've long crossed the reasonableness barrier, with a focus on self and competition way more so than focus on people and ethics. Although I don't think any journalistic society in any part of the world is immune to that, they certainly haven't lived up to the task at hand when masses are concerned.

That's where I think this show is making a difference. Sure, one can say Aamir's selfish -- his production house is getting paid handsomely for each episode. But even the worst case view can't take away from him that he's demonstrating some brilliant selfish altruism, and that's good to see from a film star with such clout.

Apologies for the late reply here. Take care and I'll hope to be in touch.