“Lock kiya jaye?”
This phrase from Kaun Banega Crorepati can easily replace “Are you sure?” in regular conversation and no one in our country would mind that.
Back when Amitabh Bachchan first asked this question, it was the era of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. Ekta Kapoor had just started a never-ending soap opera about the Virani family and though there was much excitement around Mihir Virani coming back from the dead, nothing could compare it to the enigmatic charisma of Mr. Bachchan and the hot seat!
For the entire duration of the show, 9 PM on Star Plus was designated family time and if you put your TV on mute, you could hear the sound of the theme music from all the neighbouring houses.
From a 6-year-old to a 60-year-old, everyone wanted to participate in the quiz show.
The Big Bang Theory might have made geeks cool only now but Kaun Banega Crorepati did it way before anyone else.
The euphoria of the show was such that streets would go empty at 9 PM. While the kids loved the challenge it threw at them, for the parents it was the excitement of watching the ‘angry young man’ coming on their television sets every night.
While the contestants on the show were playing for money, we were playing in front of our TV sets.
Answering the ‘Fastest Finger First’ question was the race between family members. Shouting out “BCDA… nahi nahi ADCB” over each other’s voice got over only when the timer stopped.
The three padaavs of the game made us believe, “Main hot seat pe gayi toh 3,20,000 toh minimum le hi aaungi”.
With no time limit on answering the questions, we’d often judge the contestants for not answering questions like “How many teeth does an adult human have?”.
The tough questions only appeared in the third padaav and you always knew when the contestant was giving the wrong answer because Mr. Bachchan would promptly ask them to use a lifeline instead.
Out of 50:50, phone a friend and audience poll, phone a friend was probably the worst lifeline. The poor contestant could only manage to recite the question in the given 30 seconds and the friend who was supposed to help would just keep asking, “Kya? Fir se options repeat karna?”.
Contestants would often share their dreams of spending the prize money if they ever became a crorepati on the show.
Harshvardhan Nawathe, the one “who created HISTORY” said he would buy a local train to travel to work every day since the trains were just too damn crowded. Little did he know that he was on the verge of actually being the first crorepati on the show.
Subsequent seasons had their fair share of winners but the excitement of first watching a young man winning a handsome amount because of his general knowledge got us believing that nothing is as cool as being aware.
The show was revamped after its original run in 2000-2001. There was KBC dwitiya, KBC pati-patni and a host of other combinations. Even Shah Rukh Khan tried his hand at the hosting gig but nothing could replace the charm of the first season.
The show started another phase in the career of Mr. Bachchan and the audience loved every bit of it.
He’d sign off each episode with Shabba Khair & Shubh Ratri and definitely made us believe that the Indian audience is much smarter than the TV channels would make you believe.