By Samuel Burke & Claire Calzonetti, CNN
George Clooney has spent years fighting to end violence in Darfur and actress Angelina Jolie is just back from visiting Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
American actors-turned-activists is nothing new, but in India this is an emerging concept.
Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan is leading the way for using the spotlight of celebrity to shine a light on his country’s most serious social problems.
For more than 20 years, Khan has been one of India's best-known actors, but with success came the desire to do more than just entertain.
Now Khan is hosting a hugely popular talk show called "Satyamev Jayte" or, in English, "The Truth Alone Prevails."
“I had been thinking about trying to use whatever goodwill I've earned over the years to try and use that in a way that I can give back to society,” Khan said in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
In each program, Khan tackles some of the most serious social issues plaguing India right now, breaking taboos on issues that have long been swept under the rug.
“This program has been a hugely enriching experience and something that has really transformed my life in so many ways,” Khan told Amanpour. “But in a sense, I'm an entertainer and I hopefully make people laugh and cry.”
Tears are not uncommon on Khan’s program.
His guests often cry as they reveal personal experiences typically seen with shame in Indian society. Khan himself even chokes back tears in some of the interviews.
Topics span from child abuse, child marriage and dowries.
In a recent program Khan tackled female feticide. His guest talked about being given an abortion procedure while she was unconscious.
“I was given an injection. And as soon as I was given an injection, I became unconscious. When I regained consciousness, my child was no longer alive. I was not pregnant anymore,” she tells Khan as the cameras pan from her to a shocked woman in the audience in the audience and visibly distraught Khan.
“These are really difficult topics,” Khan said as he looked back at the footage. “It's extremely difficult for me to absorb.”
Studies show that up to 12 million girls have been aborted in the past 30 years in India.
“We believe that with information and knowledge you empower a person and hopefully that changes his actions as well,” Khan said.
Unlike American television, Khan’s program often doesn’t announce what issues he will tackle on the upcoming show.
“These are very dark topics and very difficult topics. If I tell them beforehand that my topic is female feticide, a lot of people may not want to watch such a heavy topic. Or if it's child sexual abuse, they might decide, ‘Oh, yes, I know it happens, but I'm not really keen on watching this on a Sunday morning.’ So I think that the topic itself may drive people away,” Khan says.
But the program is doing just the opposite; it’s attracting a mass viewership. Khan says it could be hundreds of millions of viewers.
But the Bollywood superstar says that number is not what’s most important to him.
“What I'm really happy with is I think the political class in the country has responded really well to the show.”
Khan believes India is at a place in its history that is ripe for social change.
“I'm a very idealistic kind of a person. I believe that even people who are part of the problem can become part of the solution.”