who has been on the KBC host seat for five seasons (one season was hosted by Shah Rukh Khan
) is all set to roll with Kaun Banega Crorepati
Season 7 on Sony TV
with 13 power packed episodes. KBC he feels is a great opportunity for him to meet people from various walks of life, "I got a chance to meet people from India whom I never had or never would have had a chance to meet otherwise. I am fortunate that when I fought the elections in 1984, I met so many people in the villages when I went to interact with them. I got to know their troubles and what they go through. I had read about the country's people through the media and got a chance to meet them at that time and now again through KBC. It feels good to meet fans and people who love me and it is quite nice to know them better, learn more about them."
What he gets to know leaves him stunned says Amitabh, "When I hear about their life and all the stories that come out it is quite sad and fascinating, at the same time. It is quite painful while hearing that and we too feel that we should help them in some way or the other."
Coming on KBC also helps them in a way, "This is one medium through which due to their knowledge they get awarded which may change their lives in some small ways and it feels good. Whether it is a female or a male or a poor person in need of money... they all feel a change."
Amitabh shares an experience of a contestant, "There was this man from Bihar who won 5 crores last season and it was an amazing experience. At the beginning when I had asked him how much do you want to win? He said, 'Rs. 20,000 will be enough, it will to mend the roof of my house which is broken and needs to be repaired since the rain water comes in. So that will be an expense of Rs. 10000 and the rest will be for the phone bill for KBC!' When I enquired more he added, 'I don't have a phone but my friend who stays quite a distance away has the phone connection. So I used to cycle down to his house every day to call and register for the show and the telephone bill pending for the same is now Rs. 10000 which I have to pay!' and then that person when on to win 5 crores and we all were happy for him!
However, when some of them come with lots of hope but don't win, it also affects him as a person says Amitabh, "Many a times I feel bad when someone who is in a bad financial position feels that once he takes the hot seat all his troubles will be gone but he fails and does not win. That time I feel bad and then I too help them a little bit." In which ways does he help them? "We try to help whenever we can but never try to discuss it. Sometimes when we see that poor, ill people don't have money for treatment we help but we never try to publicise it."
Does he meet the contestants later too? "Yes, lots of time we meet them later too. Once they win, they do go away but those who have won big money or have had an effect on the show, Sony calls them back to be part of the show (not as contestants) and we do meet them again."
It has been 13 years of doing KBC. After portraying a variety of roles in films is it very difficult to bring variety in television as an anchor as compared to being an actor, "Being an anchor on Television does feel a lot more tough. TV is impromptu and not written, whereas films are relatively easier, since the dialogues are written by somebody else, the story is written by somebody else, the director's concept of what the character should be is all explained to you and all you have to do as an actor is to do what the director wants you to do and speak the dialogues whereas as an anchor you are in direct contact with people. You have to be impromptu and there is nothing written and so it is difficult. There also has to be a gut instinct to be talking to the contestant and to know about them too to keep the show moving. In television it is said that even two seconds of silence or a dark screen is bad television so you can't afford that."
Just like this year's tagline 'Seekhna bandh toh jeetna bandh', Amitabh Bachchan
feels that he still has a lot to learn and is learning it daily too, "Meeting people, taking time to talk to them, better use of Hindi language and popularizing it too... all this is a learning process. When I meet the contestants and know their life and their troubles and then come across questions on the game for which even I don't have answers to is all part of learning."
He feels that his own knowledge is very little even as of today, "Even today, I get to learn a lot. I learn every morning in fact! I learn through media, through the editorials in newspapers, the debates on TV... all of which is very knowledgeable. I feel the media is more intelligent and they research before writing the articles and our curiosity is news, and we get to learn a lot through the media since the language, grammar, spelling is correct so that also we learn. I always say that those who want to learn languages they should read the newspapers of that particular language."
himself is fluent in many languages which is easily seen on TV, "There are many things that influence this like the place you were born, what atmosphere you grew up in. I was born in Allahabad and my father was a great litterateur and he had a friend circle of intelligent, literate people so meeting them at an early age made a difference. Also later what you do in life and what you learn also makes a difference. Thus, for me Hindi is important and good too, while since I studied in an English medium school I learnt it too. Sanskrit is a different language but very pure and even I know a little bit of it due to my father who has taught it to me and I have read it."
When asked about other shows and actors from Bollywood who have turned hosts, he has nothing but praise for all, "All the hosts on TV are good. If you ask me to name them then I find all of them including Salman Khan
, Shah Rukh Khan
, Aamir Khan
, Akshay Kumar
, Hrithik Roshan
to be very good. We have somewhere around 500 channels and the timings of shows will clash and it is very difficult to avoid it."
Despite being a senior actor and a host for KBC for so many years, Amitabh says he doesn't believe in contributing too much in the creative aspect, "I never contribute in the questions and I am not interested in it too but yes when it comes to production I like to contribute by thinking and assuring how things can work in a better way, assuring that everybody works patiently, how the atmosphere can be bettered and work conducted in a happy way... all these things I like to assert" ends the superstar of Bollywood.
Seema Khot Mattoo