When Amitabh Bachchan started hosting Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) in 2000, it was a different India. Smartphones were unheard of and digital banking was stuff of futuristic conceptions of the computer revolution. At that moment, while the world’s biggest democracy was waking up to the software book, Amitabh Bachchan, the biggest star in the Bollywood constellation personified the computer in many households when he said: “Computer ji, lock kar diya jaaye…” (Mr. Computer, please lock…”)
Beginnings of KBC
Kaun Banega Crorepati started at the beginning of the millennium. Until then, big stars who had made it to Bollywood were wont to come to the small screen. But Amitabh Bachchan changed all of that. Bollywood’s biggest star through decades, Amitabh Bachchan, who was in a bit of financial trouble over his production company ABCL around the time, entered the small screen.
Since then, people all over the country, through years, sat together with their family members at 9 pm sharp to watch Big B asking questions. People saw lives change and contestants rising through the social ladder on television.
Siddhartha Basu, producer of KBC, had once said that when he first approached Amitabh Bachchan for the show, the megastar was reluctant. It was only when he saw an episode of the show after which KBC is modelled — Who Wants To Be A Millionaire — did he agree to do the show.
No KBC without Amitabh Bachchan
That brand KBC cannot survive without Amitabh Bachchan is not a platitude. There is empirical evidence to KBC’s dependance on Big B. This is because the show has experimented with next-generation Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan when he hosted the show in 2007. But Shah Rukh, who otherwise delighted audiences across the country and even parts of the world, could not fill Amitabh Bachchan’s shoes.
Shahenshah saves the show
It was only when Amitabh Bachchan returned to KBC in the show’s fourth season. While the show was still called Kaun Banega Crorepati, the prize money went up to Rs 5 crore. An estimated 27 million viewers watched Motihari’s Sushil Kumar win Rs 5 crore in the show.
Kaun Banega Crorepati Season 13
The iconic quiz show is in its 13th season now and Amitabh Bachchan at 79 is going strong. On October 11th’s episode this year, fans and the KBC production team showed a video on how Amitabh Bachchan’s dialogues have become household phrases.