Round And About–Personal

Amitach Bachchan photographed by Studio Harcou...

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I have not seen all the Crorepati programmes on TV, (December 1, 2001)

But I have seen most of them. And more than watching Mr. Bachchan, I am interested in observing the kind of contestants he gets.So far, there has not been a single person I have known earlier. A large number of them are from Delhi and Calcutta, also from little towns in the northern states, Haryana, Rajasthan, even Orissa, certainly Bihar, but not UP. From the South, it is mainly Bangalore. Not a week passes when there is not somebody from our once Garden City. But I have rarely come across anybody from Chennai. This may be because they have their own ‘Crorepati’ programme, done in Tamil and much tuned into. It is presented by a Tamilian film star, who is extremely popular though he does not look like a star. But then neither does our Bachchan.Everytime a new show begins, I pay attention to Mr. Bachchan introducing the new contestants to the audience. Mostly they are housewives, correspondence class students, and that amorphous body of men which goes about describing itself as office staff. Nothing wrong with that, after all television is their media. As Mr. Bachchan calls out their names, they wave to the audience like Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, hand stiff, only the palm moving, like a windscreen wiper.Each one I give credit for having gone through so much trouble to get on to the show. Getting on the show is more difficult than winning the jackpot, I think.They all appear a little nervous, which is expected, though I do not know whether the nervousness is caused by being on the show, or meeting Amitabh, or worrying at not being able to answer any of the questions and making a fool of themselves. Though this is not the Mastermind or Cadbury quiz, so they go home with at least Rs. 10,000 and often more. And most of them look like they can do with the money and it would mean a good deal in their lives. Some of them openly admit they have not seen so much money in their lives.

They are innocent in other ways also. The expert they choose to ring up is normally no expert. He or she is a relation or a colleague at work in the little place they come from. It is almost as if they want to give their father or a favourite ‘chacha’ a chance to talk to Amitabh Bachchan.The nice part, perhaps the nicest part of the show, is that everybody, from Mr. Bachchan down to the audience in the studio and the vast audience of a few million watching on their TV sets, want the contestants to win and are happy when they do. And this in a world whose major characteristic is envy and most people are not happy at other people’s happiness. What, I wonder, turns us all into angels when watching Kaun Banega Crorepati!

Original article by Busybee here…