Although Superstar Of The Millennium, Mr Amitabh Bachchan’s films might not be grossing 200-300 crores at the Box Office like the Khans’ films do, he is still good enough to catapult Sony Television to the number one GEC channel on the back of 2.7 ratings across three prime time slots (9-10.30 pm), courtesy Kaun Banega Crorepati 10.
Even way back in the year 2000, it was KBC 1, which had started Star Plus’s domination of the desi airwaves. The fact that, even after so many seasons down, it continues to rake in huge numbers is testament to the power of the Big B. It is his sheer personality alone that makes a quiz format so popular.
Following the old maxim of why repair something unbroken, there is no major change in the format, this year as well. The phone-a-friend round has been replaced by ask the expert round. Telco companies must not have been too happy with this we guess, as this round gave video calling a big boost. As always, the questions get progressively tougher beyond 3.20 lakh, when The Audience Poll life line loses its effectiveness.
One thing is for sure- in KBC, the quiz is not really the driver. It is Mr Bachchan’s charisma and the contestants’ life stories, that are the main USP. When one contestant told the audience about her widowed young sister, it brought tears to all our eyes.
The Big Synergy creative team works really hard to get the best possible material about all the 10 contestants who make it to the Fastest Finger round every week. It is indeed a logistical challenge to get so many contestants and accompanying Jodidar from all corners of the country to Mumbai. Today, satellite TV reaches the smallest town; hence, they get people who are still trying to awaken to progress. Indian metro city folks take them for granted.
We just have one grouse – since the past few seasons, KBC has become too much of a sob story.
After a hard day at work, I really don’t want to know of problems in other people’s lives. Poverty is the most common factor. India is still a very poor country and KBC offers a few lucky ones the chance to earn lacs of rupees, which is enough to change their lives for good, by just answering a few questions.
Another common contestant profile is suffering women, wanting to give a better life to their children. Mam, we sympathize with you; yet, too much crying is still a big turn off, at least for me. Having said that, this also goes to show that women’s education has gone up quite a notch as compared to before.
As we are discussing society, one positive thing coming out of KBC is that, today men, even in the hinterlands of India, are ready to support their wives. If this trend catches fire, gender inequality will soon be an issue of the past.
The Friday Karmveer round, which has socially important persons (Prakash Amte and Robin Hood Army’s Neel Ghosh) playing, has the least quiz quotient. But again, the amount of publicity (media appearance is all about it eventually) and recognition the deserving concerned person’s effort gets is huge and might help many needy people downstream.
As always, Mr Bachchan is now very comfortable in his element, knowing exactly what to say where. He goes out of his way to make nervous contestants comfortable. The customary husband-wife jokes are the best stress busters. He also gives a lot of added information about the question and about the contestant’s occupation and life, which makes us bat for him or her.
We really get influenced by their struggle and want them to win as much moolah as possible. No wonder, when someone comes crashing down, we feel as if we have lost.
Like in yesterday’s episode, when the needy lady who needed 5 lacs to repay her home loan dropped from 12.80 to just a shade above 3, it was a heartbreak moment for all. To be honest, Mr Bachchan tried his best to warn her about the perils of taking a risk at that level. But alas, the fact that she got the 6.40 lakh question right made her overconfident and she paid the price. She must be rueing the fact that she ignored her bro who had clearly told her to quit when the going is good.
We just wonder if the makers could add one extra lifeline that Bachchan could invoke once or twice in the show if he really felt that a contestant should be given a second chance and allowed to take what ever amount he had won, despite making a mistake. You might say that this goes against the grain of fair play; but then the show is not about the game, but more about the human spirit, which sometimes does merit a second chance. Also, if they could introduce one more layer at say 25 lakh, it will encourage more contestants to try for bigger booties.
Regular watchers will know that if the answer is right, Shahenshah will try to raise the suspense level, but if it is wrong, he says it upfront, to avoid extra tension.
Like always, we are sure that there will be film celeb contestants coming to promote their films and will give the winning amount in charity.
Although Sony will be very happy at becoming #1, it very well knows that it needs the right amount of funnelling to make lacklustre fiction shows going, as KBC 1 did by driving traction to Kyon Ki and Kahani, which went on for years.
KBC is obviously quite an expensive property to mount, and given Mr Bachhan’s prior engagements, the current season can’t last long. (Reports say 30 episodes, which might be extended a bit, like before). And once that happens, the numbers might again drop, as it has happened before. KBC 10 will soon face a direct threat from Bigg Boss (same slot), which has always been a tent pole Colors property. Having said that, Bigg Boss gets its big numbers from weekend episodes, when Salman Khan brings his mojo.
IWMBuzz.com credits Sony TV’s Kaun Banega Crorepati with 3.5 out of 5 stars.