Two weeks before actor and filmmaker Aamir Khan’s first TV show, Satyamev Jayate, goes on air, the film, TV and media industries are wondering if it has the potential to beat the Amitabh Bachchan-hosted game show, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), which, twelve years and five seasons since it began, is so far the undisputed king of television ratings (TVR/TAM). Says trade expert Komal Nahta, "There are all chances Satyamev Jayate could beat KBC’s ratings. Aamir knows what connects with the audience and there is no reason why he can’t translate that to the small screen."
However, Bachchan’s stature in entertainment is unmatched and the KBC format has been one of the longest-running in the world. Meanwhile, the content of Aamir’s show is still a secret. Some say it’s India’s answer to the US’s Oprah Winfrey Show, but Aamir will not comment. "I don’t want to tell you much about it," he said in an interview. "I want people to experience it."
The show seems to be raking in huge numbers. "It can actually be compared to the first season of the IPL, where the buzz was huge," says Shashi Sinha, CEO of the media buying agency Lodestar UM. "What I understand is that he is going to talk about real issues of our country. The concept is powerful. We have a couple of clients, including Coke, backing it. Besides that, Star Network has five-six huge sponsors backing the show."
But ad-man Prahlad Kakkar is not so certain about Aamir’s chances. "While the show’s opening figures may surpass KBC’s ratings because of the curiosity factor, the fate of its average ratings and success will depend on its content," he says. "When KBC started, it was unprecedented. Bachchan has proved to be a superlative host. Aamir may try, but I don’t think he has what it takes to hold the audience for more than a month or two."
Though Aamir’s film record has been practically impeccable, that doesn’t say much when it comes to TV, says Kakkar. "There, he has carefully cultivated his exclusivity, whereas TV is about being for the masses," he explains.
However Nahta adds, "Till Salman Khan came on Dus Ka Dum, people didn’t know he was a good speaker. We don’t know a celebrity’s hidden talent until we see them." And filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar says, "I’m looking forward to Aamir’s show. Like everyone else, I have huge expectations from it."
What are TRPs?
Television Rating Points indicate the popularity of a channel or show. TAM India is the only electronic rating agency in India as of now. It uses frequency monitoring with people meters and picture matching. Currently, TRP is based on a small urban sample size of 5,500 homes spread all over India.