India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

India not shining — on prime-time TV


Film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar said during an interview that “Indian audiences don’t like to see reality on screen, they see enough of that in life”. Bhandarkar is known for making “real” films, but he might have hit the nail on the head. Perhaps that is why Indian TV doesn’t normally depict “reality” on screen — preferring instead to hide behind yards of brocade sarees and scheming mothers-in-law and coy brides.

On Sunday though, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan chose to tell the story of a different kind of Indian woman — one that doesn’t get to live. On the first episode of his new talk show “Satyamev Jayate”, Khan chose to talk about female foeticide, a rampant issue in India, where the sex ratio is currently at its lowest since independence.

The 47-year-old interviewed women who had been forced to abort their girl children, reporters who had conducted sting operations on the issue and researchers who had done considerable work in the field.

As Khan himself noted, countless people have worked to save these little girls. I wonder how they must feel when they see an issue so close to their hearts being discussed on prime-time television on a show that’s already being talked about.