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Uday Shankar and Aamir Khan felicitated for 'Satyamev Jayate’

Awarded by National Commission for Scheduled Castes for creating awareness against social discrimination through a pioneering TV program

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | October 19, 2012

Television’s most influential show Satyamev Jayate on received a rare national recognition yesterday with the country's National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) felicitating the enablers of the show who helped create awareness against social discrimination through a pioneering TV program.

The Commission honoured Star India CEO Uday Shankar and Aamir Khan in recognition of their remarkable contribution in highlighting and helping the cause of eradicating ‘untouchability’ - a cruel reminder of the regressive caste system. Shankar and Khan received a special award at a function held to mark the International Valmiki Day in New Delhi.

Satyamev Jayate was a landmark show in Indian television that set new benchmarks from the very first episode earlier this year. Star India, which was instrumental in helping conceive the show, demonstrated how TV can be an effective tool to influence social change and people's empowerment.

During its 13-week run, the show reached a third of India's population, airing simultaneously in multiple languages, and became the most-talked about show then. It questioned social mores, helped shape mindsets and left an imprint on the minds of people with compelling tales from everyday life.

Speaking with after receiving the award, Shankar said, “It's an humbling experience and delightful at the same time. It's a recognition of STAR India's steadfast pursuit of socially relevant programming by putting the society's well being ahead of personal interests. This award is a reminder of the expectations people have placed on us and our network in terms of the nature of content. Only responsible content can make the people who are watching it aware of their responsibilities, their surroundings.”

Through Satyamev Jayate, STAR helped ignite a debate in this nation of billion plus people, engaging them with the common theme of working for a better tomorrow. It received a staggering 1.2 billion responses through several platforms from more than 5,000 cities in 165 countries.

Explaining where the success lies for the shows like Satyamev Jayate, Shankar said, “Everyone could relate to it, that's how simple it was. Yet, the harsh realities of our world were mirrored in a sensitive manner. So, it conveyed the truths without putting off people or without pushing them into depression.”

After all the ingredients of a good show, it was said that the show couldn’t fair excellent on TRP meters. When asked if Star India will bring more shows like SMJ, Shankar said, “Yes, when Satyamev Jayate was conceived, TRPs didn't matter, TRPs didn't dictate when, how or why this show should be aired. The show did garner TRPs because it was received well by viewers. So, our focus has always been and will be producing quality content -- TRPs will always follow, that is our firm belief. Good content need not imitate Satyamev Jayate, but they can definitely be of the same genre. That's why we focus more on innovation and hope the television industry too will realign itself to focus on producing content that makes a difference to the society.”

“Satyamev Jayate was an initiative to offer a public platform to issues that concern all Indians. Today, I feel glad that after the show a lot of people, including the youth of India, have come forward and expressed their views. It was a team effort and I am also grateful to Uday Shankar for giving a medium to reach out to the masses,” said Khan.

Soni said, “Star India and Aamir Khan gave a new meaning to life through the show and brought out the real picture of our nation. They also made it a point to reach out to a larger audience and recorded the episodes in different regional languages and telecast it on national television.”

Star has always considered television to be a powerful medium that is essential for bringing about social change. As an industry leader, it became imperative for Star to drive this change. Satyamev Jayate was a step that has laid the foundation for several such initiatives in future as well.

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