R.D. Tailang, Writer of Kaun Banega Crorepati has been part of the acclaimed show from Day One, and he pens down his journey…

It’s been 17 years of association with Kaun Banega Crorepati… and the journey of writing for the show has been phenomenal and fantastic. As a writer, I have seen huge growth in my craft. The show has given me opportunities to meet different kind of people every day, from different background and economic status. So as a writer, person and professional, KBC has given me growth, confidence and money too.

My most favorite moment in KBC is the one when Mr. Amitabh Bachchan read one of my poems in the show.

Our show in itself is very different. Our host is almost like God. So working with God is like having super powers. What can I say about our host Mr. Amitabh Bachchan? Well, even today, when I narrate the script to him, I feel the same goosebumps and feel the same butterflies in my stomach. And it has been the same feeling for all the 17 years. This is because when I stand before him as a writer with my script, in addition to being a writer I need to have the confidence in my script and also need to know my craft really well. In simple words, his aura is so powerful. He is so knowledgeable, he knows the language, has all the experience and while you are narrating a script to him, as a writer I need to know why I have given those lines and what will suit him well. After 17 years, I have understood his style and know what kind of lines suit him and would sound nice when he is talking. That’s the most important thing in a game show of this stature. Above all the main challenge in KBC is that Mr. Bachchan should not appear to be talking the words of a writer. It should appear as though he is talking his own lines. If it looks as if he is talking my lines, it is a big failure for me as a writer. The lines should be so suited to his way of speech and thought process. Rather than the writer seen in the lines, it has to be the host seen in the lines. Now after 17 years of working with him, I know his style, dialogue delivery, his punctuation style etc. Hence work on KBC has become bit easy. Otherwise the feeling is the same even today.

Looking back at the journey of KBC, when we started playing, we did not have any benchmark whatsoever. Slowly, we worked on the basis of trial and error and moved ahead. Looking back at the journey of KBC, when we started playing, we did not have any benchmark whatsoever. Slowly, we worked on the basis of trial and error and moved ahead.

Looking back at the journey of KBC, when we started playing, we did not have any benchmark whatsoever. Slowly, we worked on the basis of trial and error and moved ahead. We did not know what the actual range of Mr. Bachchan was. We all had seen him only on the screens, as the characters he played. Nobody knew how the real Mr. Bachchan talked and reacted. So once it happened and we got a hang of how he is, we changed topics on the show to suit him and his temperament. Suddenly, we had a host who went on to become a friend, a philosopher and guide who not only conducted the show, but also spoke like a family member, like a big brother and also had fun time with them. Now we see Mr. Bachchan with the image of a Big Brother on KBC. In fact, the journey of KBC for Mr. Bachchan is also similar. There was a huge gap between his fans and him earlier. They all had seen him in various characters but 90 percent of his fans had not seen him for real. So this was the first time for Mr. Bachchan to face his fans. And the manner in which he grew in their minds has been phenomenal. Also, KBC holds a unique place because we do not have a concept where the game is played with a Host V/s Contestant format. Normally we have the host asking the toughest of questions trying to make it difficult for the contestant to answer correctly. Here we had a host who requested Computerji to favor the contestant and the host always wanted the contestant to win big bucks. This characterization grew in the minds of the followers, and is a big reason for the show’s popularity.

For me, Mr. Basu (Siddharth) has always been a celebrity; I have grown up watching his quiz shows. Mr. Basu is the most intelligent person in our entire crew. He was our first Google, in fact!!

Nothing is permanent in this world, and KBC too has seen two popular stars Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan hosting the show at various stages. Writing about it, both are popular stars with their own charisma and personalities. While SRK was more of a friend, Amitabh is regarded as a family member and big brother. With SRK as host, he used to talk a lot, pull the leg of contestants with his cute banter and fun talk. There was a comfort level between the host and contestants with the friendly gesture that SRK had. And the same used to reflect in our scripts. With Amitabh Bachchan as host, the style changed but the game has always been the same. SRK and Amitabh are like two flavors of an ice cream; if one was vanilla, the other was strawberry. Both have been great hosts with their own styles and have been extremely popular as KBC hosts.

It’s been a grand association for me with the Quiz Master and maker Siddhartha Basu with KBC. We have been together for 17 years, and Mr. Basu is almost like family. For me, Mr. Basu has always been a celebrity; I have grown up watching his quiz shows. Mr. Basu is the most intelligent person in our entire crew. He was our first Google, in fact!! 

KBC has seen two popular stars Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan hosting the show at various stages. SRK and Amitabh are like two flavors of an ice cream; if one is vanilla, the other is strawberry. Both have been great hosts with their own styles and have been extremely popular.

KBC has been a game changer in all sorts as it brought about the trend wherein a simple quiz game merged with technology. Also, the best part of KBC is that you need not be academically very knowledgeable to play the game. You need not read into huge books or pass entrance exams to be part of it. You only need basic general knowledge which people usually derive by reading newspapers regularly. If you are well-versed with happenings around you, you are eligible to play the game. Also, this game has a life changing power. It has changed many lives because of the huge money involved. And when the common man got to know more about KBC, he got the feeling that this is a show made for him. This really made the difference… Well, there have been lot of clone shows created on the basis of KBC, but none of them have succeeded. The main reason for this is that these shows did not have the connect that KBC garnered with the masses. The common man thought that here was a game which was pure and original and not a rehash of anything. The merger of ‘technology’ and ‘game’ has again been the telling factor.

Talking about success and being not so successful, there was a dip in ratings of KBC in the last few years. And now KBC has bounced back and has catapulted Sony TV to the numero uno status. Yes, experiments keep happening as we want to provide some kind of newness in every season. Few experiments work while few don’t. With the experience, we have gotten to realize that people like KBC in its simple and natural format. In between, we tried to change the attitude and overall approach to the show. We changed the set and design and even brought in a square setup instead of the popular circular one. But guess these changes did not work. This time around, we have kept the show as simple and original as possible. We have had no integrations with stars and we are back to the round setup too. People have loved it and this season has been a phenomenal success.

There was a dip in ratings of KBC in the last few years. And now KBC has bounced back and has catapulted Sony TV to the numero uno status. Yes, experiments keep happening as we want to provide some kind of newness in every season. Few experiments work while few don’t. With the experience, we have gotten to realize that people like KBC in its simple and natural format.

I have spoken a lot about the game, host, and also about myself… But one thing that I will want to pen down as my most favorite moment in KBC is the moment when Mr. Amitabh Bachchan read one of my poems in the show. We usually do not prefer to name anyone associated with the show. However, Mr. Bachchan took my name on National Television and appreciated my poem and read it too. This has to be my blessed moment.

Well, I can certainly go on and on as KBC is something that has had a long journey with lot of anecdotes and achievements to talk about. However, I would like to limit myself by saying that KBC has no doubt changed many lives… Yes, it has changed mine too… and it will continue to change many more…

(As told to Srividya Rajesh)

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