Twenty years and 12 seasons old, Kaun Banega Crorepati is set to return with a new season on September 26 and Sujata Sanghamitra, the show-runner, couldn’t have imaginedthe same when they started out in March. As iconic Amitabh Bachchan turns host once more, Sujata spills the beans on what it’s like to return to the mega-show.
Mommy of the show
I joined the show as an executive producer right at the inception. The very moment I first saw Mr Bachchan, I froze. The man from Deewaar and Trishul was right in front of me!It’s only over the years that I have started seeing him as our host. I progressed to the supervising producer, then creative director and now the showrunner. I am basically the ‘mommy’ of KBC, everything must pass through me. So like most mommies, I am strict, but also a giver; basically the rule-keeper of this house.
KBC through the years
We have evolved with time. From a simple quiz show to changing formats, we have covered quite a distance. We have been pioneers in introducing reality bites. The show on the surface may seem simple in format, but there are layers and a lot of preparationgoes into that. Right from the audition for which we have travelled across the country to our teams reaching out to every nook and corner, covering our contestants, we have had our hands full. And to see lives change, forever, right in front of our eyes has been an amazing experience.
Through the pandemic
For the first time in the history of KBC, we would have a show sans the audience. The format has been rejigged to suit the new times. We couldn’t have risked any lives. Now instead of 10, there would be eight participants to begin with keeping in mind social distancing. The hot seat is now farther from the host. While there would be seating for those who accompany the contestant, therewould be no live audience poll as helpline. The audition process moved to online for Season 12. Our reality teams couldn’t go shooting, so contestants have shot their realitybites. With their phones, kids have turned little movie-makers for their mothers! The entire process was as exhaustive though, at times our virtual creative meetings having lasted for eight hoursat a stretch.
The host rocks
The first day on the sets was scary. Mr Bachchan was just back from hospital and we were all apprehensive about his health. But the legend that he is, he showed up with the same spirit and even more enthusiasm. He is always pushing us to do better. He is a true rockstar, always attentive to the minutest detail. With him as host, he never lets any complacency set in.
In the current times, we all are surrounded by stress, anxiety and negativity. Our contestantsand how they dealt with circumstances to emerge victorious is bound to inspire everyone.