We are just like normal people: Amitabh Bachchan
His love affair with television began in 2000 and it continues to this day. Amitabh Bachchan started off the trend of filmstars seeing TV as a viable medium.
But the fact remains that no one has matched the sort of popularity he invokes. The man, however, credits the game show format for his success. Excerpts from the interview…
As you gear up for yet another season of Kaun Banega Crorepati on SonyTV, is there anxiety?
Each season has its apprehensions, its nervousness and butterflies and elephants roaming in the stomach! I believe that any kind of public exposure, does that to an individual… at least it does that to me. Others seem a lot braver. I am not. I just feel very self-conscious, but it’s a job to be done and one wants to do the best. But yes, it’s frightening to be in front of the camera, in front of so many people. What are we going to do with the contestants, how are we going to conduct the show… all these questions do come up.
You’ve been credited with changing the face of Indian television…
Gosh! That’s an unfair assumption. The game itself is the game changer. The format of the game is something unique. Designed by a psychologist-cum-scientist, it has succeeded in more than 80 countries. And I haven’t anchored the 80 shows, so it’s really the game and not the anchor.
What was the draw for you in 2000 when you did this show? And what’s it today?
I have always felt that if there are creative opportunities in different mediums — whether it is cinema, television, stage — one should attempt them, but I never new how to go about it. When this opportunity came, I looked at it carefully and just took a wild jump. Everyone guided me against it saying you are reducing yourself from 70 mm frame to 25 mm screen. It’s a death knell for most actors. But, I liked what they showed me. I saw the original, I met Christ Tarrent, the first host of the game show. I asked them if they could produce it exactly that way and to their credit, they did and that’s how we got started. Twelve years down the lane, it’s still a moment of great excitement.
It’s because when I was in hospital in Bangalore and then because my situation was getting very grave I had to be shifted. Medical facilities in Bangalore were not that proficient at that time; of course now they are brilliant. I had to go through another immediate surgery and it was that surgery that I didn’t come out of. I was in coma and clinically dead for a couple of minutes. When I came out of it, they felt it was a kind of rebirth and wanted to celebrate it as my second birthday.You have done a variety of roles, but is there something you haven’t done and really want to do?
I have not thought about it but I hope there are some directors who can think about it. If they feel this is something I should be doing, I go ahead and do it. I could never have thought of something like Sanjay Leela Bhansali thought for me in Black or R Balki did for Paa. For now, clearly it’s KBC on your mind. Are there any changes this season?
The basic format is the same; we can’t change that because that’s contracted by the company that owns it. We keep making small additions which you may have seen in the last season like providing video clips of contestants in the circumstances they are. It’s a wonderful idea and continue to do that. Our emphasis this time is gyaan hi aapko apka haq dilata hai. You could be from humble circumstances but if you were to develop your knowledge and educate yourself you could one day perhaps exercise your right in society. I have particularly found that almost all the winners of large amounts have been individuals that have come from very humble backgrounds. — Times of India