I feel like a star already, says Harish Iyer post Satyamev Jayate
Harish Iyer with Aamir Khan and Sridevi
Harish Iyer is a name India now knows, and this is a fact, especially after the weekend’s broadcast of Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate on child sexual abuse.
An avid blogger and a self-confessed and irrefutable Twitterati — Harish is as adorable in person as his dimples make you believe him to be.
“I am just amazed. It’s beyond words… and I mean it… the whole experience was electrifying to say the least,” begins Harish.
“The show was really something I had never expected it to be. I’ve been on TV shows before… and I’ve spoken about abuse before too… but the warmth, the involvement and the sheer emotionality of this show overwhelmed me. I am quite surprised I wasn’t a puddle of tears at the end,” Harish shares. “Aamir’s warmth and genuine concern also helped me open up about several things, things even my amma didn’t know about,” Harish adds.
What about the Sridevi surprise? “Well, when I was being readied for the show, I noticed this gorgeous sari being wheeled around and actually asked a volunteer who the sari was for. I was only met with disapproving mumbles about someone random. There was a reference being made to this person several times and much later I realised that this was a code name for Sridevi. I still smile when I think of all the efforts the team went through to keep the surprise genuine for me,” answers Harish.
We prod further… Sridevi and surprised, yes, but aren’t the both of you Tamil? “Yes!” pat comes the reply as Harish adds, “we actually spoke to each other in Tamil, bits that sadly didn’t make it to the final edit. When I saw her, the only words that slipped off my tongue were enakku vishvaasamillai, neenguh nijamaavuh theriyilai (I can’t believe this, you don’t seem to be real) and she replied, aamaam, nijam thaan (Yes, yes, this is real)…”
Meeting the women of your dreams — the root behind your strength and telling the whole country your tale, egged on on by none other than Aamir Khan himself — we’re still left wondering what element of the show caught your attention the most? “I think what Dr Rajat said seemed to make most sense to me — ‘Respect your elders for their attitude, not for their age’. I think a pervert should be called a pervert, irrespective of his age or gender or sexuality,” answers Harish.
And what about the audience? “The audience was amazing. We actually shot this one episode over almost a whole day and the intensity that you saw on screen was only one tenth of what actually transpired on those sets. Aamir Khan was in tears on many occasions and we had to stop for little breaks for the emotionally charged audience,” Harish shares.
Shooting done and weeks later, the show finally airs. So what does Harish decide to do on D-day? “I watched the episode with a few of my gay friends and then spent most of the day with a friend, Deborah, at a mall in Thane. What really surprised me was people approaching me a few hours after the airing… asking me if I could pose with them. I feel like a star already! Like that’s not enough… Aamir Khan actually called me to check on me. He even asked me if I thought the editing was done well and the likes. He’s just far too amazing!” Harish gushes.
But is that all, we enquire? “No! Soon enough emails started flooding my inbox and messages began delivering like crazy. That’s when I realised I needed to ensure that it didn’t all end with this. I wanted to continue the buzz and keep the excitement going. Which is why I’ve announced and invited entries for a repository of material on Sexual Abuse Awareness — I want this to go on and Satyamev Jayate has come forward to help me there too! They’re just amazing people, doing amazing work,” Harish explains.
With hardly any time left to spare, we conclude by asking Harish why he chose to do what he did and he quite brilliantly answers. “We all have ways to deal with these grave wounds. Wounds that will never really fully heal. Cinderella has her music and her belief system, Ganesh had forgiveness and his passion for work. I have the need to spread awareness and will do everything within my capacity to ensure that the word gets around. No child should ever be forced to stay quiet about sexual abuse, ever again,” Harish concludes.
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