Amitabh Bachhan: Yes! I am contracted for the next season too.

Amitabh Bachchan, who changed the face of Indian television a decade ago and yet again set new records with Kaun Banega Crorepati 5, talks about his telly journey, the TRP game and more with Roshni K Olivera

Amitabh Bachchan brought about a revolution on Indian television a decade ago when he hosted Kaun Banega Crorepati. He paved the way for other film stars to step into television and since then practically all top stars have either judged, hosted or acted in shows. But Bachchan remains the all-time favourite and this is more than evident from the Television Rating Points (TRPs) that Sony TV’s KBC 5 recently generated. BT spoke to Bachchan about his interesting telly journey.

You changed the face of television in 2000 with KBC. Yet again, you’ve set a record… this time by garnering the highest rating points ever for a reality show. How does it feel?
What can one say? It’s been a delight to be part of this wonderful team and this immensely popular show. One had never imagined that even after 11 years it would still be able to garner the interests of TV audiences the way it has. There is a sense of joy and appreciation for all those that worked meticulously in putting this production together -the channel and Siddharth Basu’s production house. But quite honestly, the credit should go to the people of this country for giving us the kind of patronage they did.

Do you think the emphasis on the common man worked well for the show?
The tagline of the show ‘Koi bhi insaan chota nahin hota’ was what had been designed by those in the creative team, and I think that the show lived up to it. It certainly touched a chord not just with the contestants, but perhaps with the television audiences in no small measure. I do not think that those that came on the show were the ‘common man’. They were all exceptional. It’s just that they never got an opportunity to exhibit their talent and their vast knowledge. No human is ‘common’ in my personal eye. We all possess some quality that makes us special. KBC gave these special people the moment and the platform to demonstrate it for us.

When you accepted to host this season of the show, was there some sort of worry about viewers’ response considering it had completed four seasons?
As artists, we are generally apprehensive about the work we take on because it has to face the test of audience acceptability. However, personally it matters a lot if the producers and the makers give me the required confidence. Once they are sure, then I go along with my part of the job, which is to deliver what they have trusted me with. Yes KBC had been on for many seasons and there was always the worry of viewer response, but then which creative process doesn’t!

There were constant comparisons made between you and others stars on TV, be it Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt or Hrithik Roshan. How did you react to that? Have you watched their shows?
I never came across any so called comparisons, and quite honestly these delusions exist in the minds of the media only. Nothing terribly wrong with that from the media point of view; it makes excellent copy. But all the stars you mention have a great following and standing in our industry and would not have been chosen for their respective programmes if they were not considered competent enough. Yes, I have watched all their shows, and each one has his own unique presence. They all were and are very good.

TRP is the keyword in tellyland. How much has it mattered to you?
I am afraid I have not been able to understand the whole TRP business and have no idea how it functions. I am told it is a gauge on the success factor of a particular programme and that the commerce depends on its viability. For me though, the most valued gauge has been the acknowledgement from that unknown face on the street as I travel by.

Are we going to see you hosting KBC’s next season?
Yes! I am contracted for the next season too.

Have you, by any chance, been offered a TV serial? If you get offered a family drama, what will your first reaction be?
I have not been offered one yet, but if I were to get one I would happily accept it! (smiles)

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