Big B’s Exit From ‘KBC’ Marks End Of An Era
MUMBAI (IANS) – Hindi cinema icon Amitabh Bachchan’s journey as host of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (KBC) has been nothing short of historic.
The megastar stepped into the shoes of the quizmaster for the Indian version of the reality knowledge show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?‘ in 2000, and since then, he has become synonymous with KBC becoming a blockbuster like the films that ensured his place in history.
Bachchan’s journey as host of ‘KBC’ also marked a comeback for him when he was down and out. At a time when his film career had grown to a halt and he was saddled with debts, the small screen provided a platform for Bachchan to reconnect with the audience that grew up adoring him.
The year 1989 was particularly bad for Bachchan. His star power has well and truly begun to wane with films such as ‘Jaadugar’, ‘Toofan’ and ‘Main Azaad Hoon’ (all released in 1989) bombed at the box office.
He regained some of his old mojo with the crime drama ‘Aaj Ka Arjun’ (1990) and the actioner ‘Hum’ (1991), but this was momentary and his rocky relationship with the box office continued.
After the release of the critically acclaimed epic ‘Khuda Gawah’ in 1992, Big B went into semi-retirement for five years. He also turned producer and set up the Amitabh Bachchan Corporation, Ltd (ABCL) in 1996.
The company’s objective was to introduce products and services covering an entire cross-section of India’s entertainment industry. The first film it produced was ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ launched the actor Arshad Warsi. It was a box office hit.
In 1997, though, Bachchan attempted to make an acting comeback with the film ‘Mrityudata’, which was produced by ABCL. The film was a failure both financially and critically. His company was also the main sponsor of the 1996 Miss World beauty pageant in Bengaluru, but lost millions.
The fiasco and the consequent legal battles that ABCL found itself mired in led to its financial and operational collapse in 1997.
The megastar attempted to revive his acting career and had some commercial success with ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’, ‘Major Saab’ and ‘Sooryavansham’, but other films such as ‘Lal Baadshah’ and ‘Kohram’ were box office failures.
Amitabh’s decision to venture into television was initially met with skepticism, but his charisma and the format of ‘KBC’ proved to be a winning combination. His entry into the world of television marked a significant shift in the industry, as his towering presence and baritone voice added a touch of grandeur to the small screen.
The decision to cast a Bollywood legend as the host was a game-changer, turning the quiz-based reality show into a cultural phenomenon.
Apart from the entertainment factor, Bachchan’s avuncular encouragement and support for contestants from diverse backgrounds resonated with the viewers, creating a sense of inclusivity.
His famous catchphrase, “Lock kiya jaye?”, became a household phrase, symbolizing the suspense and thrill associated with the show.
The “Hot Seat” became a symbol of dreams and aspirations. The show also addressed various societal issues, and Bachchan used his influence to promote education, health awareness, and philanthropy.
His impact on ‘KBC’ extended beyond the confines of the studio. The show’s success played a pivotal role in reshaping the TV landscape in India, as it set new benchmarks for viewership and TRP ratings.
Its popularity was not only limited to urban areas, but it penetrated deep into rural India, breaking down barriers and making television quiz shows accessible to a broader spectrum of viewers.
The first season was aired in July 2000 on Star Plus and it saw Harshvardhan Navathe as the first top prize winner of the game show, winning Rs 1 crore.
In August 2005, the show was restarted after a four-year hiatus, and was renamed ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati Dwitiya’. During this season, the top prize amount was doubled to Rs 2 crore. Star Plus abruptly ended it after Big B fell ill in 2006.
For the third season, which premiered in 2007, the makers roped in Shah Rukh Khan as the host, but the show’s ratings dropped due to the change of presenter. SRK obviously could not match up to Big B’s charisma.
Bachchan returned to the sets of ‘KBC’ in 2010 and his journey since then stands as a remarkable chapter in the history of Indian television.
A notable aspect of Amitabh’s hosting style was his ability to balance gravitas with humor. Whether he was sharing anecdotes from his own life or playfully teasing contestants, he showcased a dynamic range that resonated with viewers.
As technology evolved, ‘KBC’ adapted to the digital age. Online engagement through social media and interactive applications enhanced the viewer experience, keeping the show relevant in an era dominated by digital platforms. It expanded the show’s reach and attracted a younger audience.
As host of the show, Big B also become a style icon with his impeccable fashion sense. His wardrobe choices have been closely watched and appreciated throughout the various seasons of the iconic quiz show.
Over the years, viewers have seen Bachchan appearing in many show-stopping outfits that have been the talk of the town.
From three-piece suits, bowties, stylish scarves, and more, stylist Priya Patil was the one-woman army who has been instrumental in making television’s favorite host look more dapper every season.
In the early seasons of ‘KBC’, Bachchan often donned elegant formal wear — classic suits in earthy tones and well-coordinated ties became his signature look.
As the seasons progressed, the mega star embraced a more contemporary and versatile style. His wardrobe evolved to include a mix of traditional and modern outfits.
The actor effortlessly blended ethnic wear, like intricately embroidered sherwanis and kurta-pajamas, with Western ensembles, showcasing a seamless fusion of cultural aesthetics. Stylish cufflinks, pocket squares, and watches became integral elements of his ensemble, accentuating the sophistication that has always been his hallmark.
Bachchan’s grooming and hairstyle choices also underwent subtle changes. His well-groomed beard and neatly styled hair complemented his outfits, contributing to a polished and sophisticated appearance.
The actor’s outfits often reflected the show’s theme and mood.
The last episode of the 15th season was aired on December 29 on Sony.