| Bachchan: Ready for replay
Calcutta, Feb. 22: Kaun Banega Crorepati is on its way back.
Sure' Confident' Lock kiya jaye'
No need for a 50-50 or dial-a-friend or even an audience poll.
After months of deliberation, the most-watched show in the history of Indian television is set to return before the festive season. Yes, with Amitabh Bachchan as star host. This time, one doesn't even have to be in the hot seat to have a hotline to the hot show or claim some of the bounty.
Deepak Segal, executive vice-president, content and communications, STAR India, told The Telegraph: 'We are planning to have Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) back on air by August-September. At the moment, we are talking to all the possible telephone companies. The contest lines should be open for the public by June.'
The prize money has been doubled ' yes, it's a whopping Rs 2 crore if you can ace all 15 questions. The thrust this time is on mobile communication, and by extension, audience participation.
'Gone are the days of landline connections when phone lines would crash on the day lines were opened. We'll use mobile technology to the fullest. And audiences can actually play along with the contestants, sitting at home, and win loads of cash and other prizes over SMS,' added Segal.
The production team of Siddhartha Basu's Synergy Communications handles the prime-time show this time too.
When KBC was pulled off air on December 21, 2001, after a run of 18 months, Bachchan had shot for 305 of the 390 episodes stipulated in the contract with STAR. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, Bachchan had promised in the last episode of KBC: 'I'll be back!'
And back he is in the quizmaster's seat. 'Bachchan has finally been able to give us bulk dates, essential for a show like this where we announce contests on one episode and declare the winners on another. Only 85 new episodes will be shot and there will be no extension after that,' confirmed Segal.
Bachchan hasn't signed any new film to be shot in the period between May and September. The shooting for most of his forthcoming films like Vipul Shah's Waqt, Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar, Raj Kumar Santoshi's Family and Mahesh Manjrekar's Viruddh is either over or slated to be completed by April.
As he had told The Telegraph earlier this month, he will only 'come to Calcutta in late 2005 to shoot for Rituparno Ghosh's film'. Till then, AB is all for KBC.