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Sameer Nair Who Spearheaded  KBC Look Back At The Game-Show That Was A Game-Changer  For Indian Television!

This  Month  on July 3 marked  20 Years  Of  KBC, Amitabh   Bachchan ,  Sameer Nair  Who Spearheaded  KBC  Look Back  At The Game-Show That Was A  Game-Changer  For  Indian Television.

20 years  and still going strong! Did Sameer Nair, now CEO of Applause Entertainment who was back then in the year 2,000 the  programme head at Star  TV, ever think that Kaun Banega  Crorepati(KBC) would become such a longevous phenomenon?

 Recalling   the  beginnings of what turned out to be a  masterplan Sameer Nair  remembers walking  into the Bachchans’ home Jalsa armed with the  VHS of  Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the  original  version  of KBC.  “Was I sure  that  it was  going to be  Mr Bachchan? Absolutely. I was  absolutely  sure  it had to be  Mr Bachchan.Only he had the clout to enter every household.  At that  point of time  nothing else was certain.Would the concept work in India? Mr Bachchan himself  was  advised  by everyone  to not get  into television.I left  the  VHS  with him  urging him  to ‘Push Play’”

This  was in January 2000. After months  of indecisiveness  Sameer  flew to London with  Mr Amitabh Bachchan in April to  witness the  shooting  of Who Wants  to Be  A  Billionaire firsthand.

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Says Sameer, “That clinched  it. On the flight  back  Mr Amitabh Bachchan  finally said  yes, and we were on.We erected a  set for KBC identical to the one  for Who Wants To Be  A  Billionaire. We  didn’t cut any corners.”

KBC was decisive  for both Mr Amitabh Bachchan’s career  and  for  the Star channel. It resurrected  Mr Bachchan’s career.  The  Star channel  went from  0  to No.1.

Says Sameer, “We had a viewership of  25 million  on  2,000.It went up  to 90 million  on 2010. What KBC did  was  to  reinvent Mr Amitabh Bachchan ’s image  . It made him  the  household favourite  in every family. He was the hero of the father and the mother. They  introduced their hero to the  son and the daughter  of   the family.”
Looking back  Amitabh Bachchan says  he  never  expected   the show to be so  popular. “No never ..I do believe, as do many, that KBC has become a life-changing experience for many ,. particularly those that come from middleclass India. Living and sitting in the comfort of our individual metros we are completely unaware of the conditions and the lives and the thinking of our own countrymen that inhabit the interiors and the rural regions of India. When these contestants find their space on this KBC platform it is a dream like experience for them.The format of KBC is unchanged by protocol, and it cannot be altered, but it is the worth and value and participation of the contestants that brings variety each year to this show. They are the heart and soul of KBC. It is they that bring in the stories of their struggle, their challenges and their attitude toward it, their determination to bringing a life changing moment, their concerns towards morality and social impurities and of course the joy and happiness in their victories .

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Somewhere, KBC has become a rallying point for middleclass dreams.

Says  Mr Amitabh Bachchan  , “As I said it is most heartening to witness the boundless joy and happiness the winners express on their winnings ! The cheque given to them is  a dream-come-true for them. They first begin to count the number of zeros that the amount carries. They have never in their lives ever seen money of this value. Life for them changes within the course of an hour or less. It is quite obviously an unbelievable moment for them. 14 years is a long time to be associated with it, with approximately 600 episodes that I have been involved in, it does seem like the enactment of a lifetime, but I have never felt the years go by. I feel as excited about meeting different contestants today as I did on day one … There are many contestants that come to the game show with great aspirations and expectations and if  through the show and the game, we can give them an opportunity to become a game-changer in their life, it gives all of us great satisfaction.”

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 For Mr Bachchan  every contestant matters.  “The contestant that sits before me is the guest in my home. I would look upon them with the same care and attention that I would give to an invited visitor. If you are working at providing compassion, there is obviously something wrong in your demeanour, upbringing and your ethics. That is my belief and nature. If it sounds pleasant enough I am grateful and honoured.”

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