Aamir Khan is very active these days. He’s busy promoting his upcoming movie PEEPLI LIVE. News channels, particularly NDTV, are informing us that the movie is about the problems faced by the common man. One can believe the channels as Aamir has suddenly started speaking about popular common man issues, like lack of civic amenities, price rise etc.
Aamir does so every time his new movie is up for release. During pre, Rang De Basanti promotion, Aamir made statements lending his support to the cause of those displaced by the Narmada dam. He also lent support to the Tibetan movement against China. But unlike Baichung Bhutia, the ace footballer, who declined to run with Beijing Olympic torch in Delhi; conforming to his support for the Tibetan people; Aamir took an ingenious stance; he said he will run with the Olympic torch; as a mark of support for the Tibetan cause. Like many among us I still can’t understand, how taking part in an event, whose successful completion would have taken China one step closer to a successful Olympic; would have provided support to Tibetan people, who since the past 50 years have been living away from their home country; because of China.
Aamir is a clever man.
Coming back to Aamir promoting his upcoming movie PEEPLI Live; NDTV showed a report on 12 July 2010, about how the movie took a song, written and composed by some obscure villagers; get it resung by actor Raghubir Yadav (the same song is being used in promotions); but the sad part being, the original composer (the villager) and other singers (villagers as well) given paltry amounts for the song. The report underlined that the villagers are now feeling being duped and are very disappointed.
On July 13 2010 NDTV informed us that, Aamir has responded to their report shown a day earlier; and the actor has generously hiked the remuneration for the main composer and singer to Rs. 50,000 (earlier he was given Rs 1100) and that of other singers too (earlier they were given Rs 100).
NDTV called the act “Generous”. Even the title of the report was “Generous Aamir” (when translated to Hindi “Dildaar Aamir”). To convey the sentiment, the main crux of the report was to highlight the generosity of the actor.
My question is: If after managing to get original composition dirt cheap, if the actor (the movie is from Aamir’s production company) has raised the amount; will it be called his generosity?
If the news channel (NDTV) wants us to believe their blatantly biased report, a report that is promoting the movie and nothing else; then sorry but they can’t be believed.
To me: Aamir’s latter act was nothing but a facing saving exercise.
In the first place buying an intellectual property for a price that doesn’t even stand anywhere industry remuneration, by a senior member of the industry, is nothing but criminal.
If the criminal connotation is removed from the act (as Indian film industry is not an industry after all), even then the act of buying the original song for dirt, puts the actor and his project in an ethically bad light.
What would have been better, that rather than praising the actor for raising the remuneration to original composures; calling the act generous; if the channel had tried to underline the blatant dichotomy influential people of the movie world show by their utterances and acts; then it would have made for a meaningful reporting.
Media in our country, especially the electronic media, still needs balance. Any incident that involves a politician doesn’t necessarily make the politician or his tribe crooks or a culprit. Politician bashing 24 hours and on contrary looking at every other news at face value will not be said responsible journalism.
Ask yourself, when was the last time, a celebrity (other than a politician), be it a sportsperson or a film maker, grilled or debated upon by the electronic media on the questions of dichotomy on utterances and acts, on tax evasion or the incident like the current one, involving Aamir khan.
Wouldn’t it be the right time, for Indian media, to question Aamir for initially duping the original composure singer, for a song which the actor’s project intended to use in a billion budget movie. Also considering the fact that if the song is compelling enough it can alone rakes in millions.
We need such debates, as if the TV channels can host debates on the question of “Indian movie industry losing revenues as of piracy” and showing actors like Aamir taking high moral stands in media press briefs.
Then why not on this question?