This is an incredibly powerful show by Aamir Khan. Bollywood stars are like gods in India (and the world, increasingly) but they rarely use their power for much more than selling motorbikes or skin whitening cream. Aamir Khan, however, is producing an amazing show to draw attention to social issues and remedy them. This episode, for example, has real people coming out about child sexual abuse and then ends with an encouragement to raise funds and pass legislation. It’s quite inspiring.
Recently someone asked what the equivalent of Bollywood stars in Sri Lanka would be – people that can move brands or social causes. I think the answer is Bollywood stars, or cricketers. We don’t really have such a thumping film industry and film ‘stars’ aren’t especially wealthy, famous or even attractive. For the Carlton Super 7s rugby tourney they brought down Vivek Oberoi and Bipasha Basu from India. Local stars rarely make much money and are somewhat frequently implicated in prostitution and shoplifting to get by.
That said, if a cricketer or someone respected did start a show or movement like this, it would be great. As it is, even Aamir Khan is quite reputed even in Sri Lanka and this type of show makes a difference. It should really be subtitled in Sinhala (as Tamil is already available).
In the episode embedded here he’s talking about child sexual abuse. With the exception of the part about identifying child sex abusers (largely impossible, and kinda unfair to people who simply like spending time with children) I thought it was very good sense. For people who were abused to get up and talk about it is incredible and brave, and yet a hug from a Bollywood star makes it easier, both immediately and in terms of protection from social stigma.
With many social problems, the shame is on the victim and they are brought into the conspiracy through silence. But breaking that silence can have a knock-on effect, and it’s great that this Khan is using his celebrity for such a worth cause. It’s also very compelling, immediate television. It’s on Star World, and online. Check it out.