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JABAB KINTE CHAI

Jabab Kintey Chai, a quiz format on Sananda TV spearheaded by ‘mastermind’ Siddharth Basu goes on air tonight (Monday to Saturday, 8.30pm). A t2 chat with Mir, the host of the show.

What is Jabab Kintey Chai about?

Calcuttans have always been very enthusiastic about quizzing and on Jabab Kintey Chai, we have them coming in from all over. But the show is not only about quizzing; it’s about how you choose the helplines available to you. One contestant is pitted against 60 traders, who are there to play against him as well as play for him. It’s a very unique and interesting format. The role of a trader is to help a contestant earn the maximum cash, but at the same time, he also has his eye on his money. So, he actually could completely mislead a player by giving the wrong answer. Ultimately, the onus is on the contestant to choose the right answer from the incorrect one. On moral grounds, it’s a little sticky because the one who you think is helping you could actually completely trick you and make you give the wrong answer. On this show, people lie through their teeth for money. They have no qualms… no morality as far as lying goes. Just for that extra buck…but that’s a lot of fun. It’s a format that has never been tried before on Indian television. The format will not only test how much you know; it’s also about how well you bargain to save your money.

Why do you think this format will work well on Bangla television?

Bengalis are very good at bargaining! Even when there is a sign in a shop window that says ‘Please do not bargain’, you will have a Bengali going up to the shopowner to say: ‘Ota toh onner jonyo. Amar jonyo koto komaben bolun (That sign is for others, how much will you lower the price for me?)!’ We are shameless bargainers (laughs) and that’s what this show requires you to be. It’s a perfect fit. We have shot 11 episodes so far and are contracted for 54 in total.

Given the format, there must be a lot of chaos on set...

My job is very intriguing because I have to strike a balance between the contestant and the trader. More often than not, I have a tough time getting these people away from each other because an atmosphere that involves bargaining and money means that people often get into fisticuffs! I have to make sure there is no violence on the show! It hasn’t happened so far, but when we record bytes of the contestants and traders for post-production, there have often been nasty words that have flown about.

How differently will you host Jabab Kintey Chai from Mirakkel?

We are dealing with money here, very seriously. The top prize is Rs 25 lakh. The frivolity needs to be controlled and we constantly have to keep in mind that Rs 25 lakh is a lot of money for the people who come in to participate. The show is fun but I have to keep reminding them of the seriousness of the format because it involves money. I have consciously tried to keep away from the kind of stuff I do on Mirakkel. Anything that I do or say on Mirakkel, I try not to do here.

What is the profile of the contestants?

Housewives to college kids to schoolteachers to businessman… we have a great mix. The traders on the show are for real — some are genuine share traders, some are cloth merchants…. But the show has huge potential to appeal to the women in the audience because they are the ones who love bargaining most!


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