The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bachchan best: SRK
- KBC pioneer’s boots too big for King Khan

New Delhi, Dec. 4: Who is the best man to be Kaun Banega Crorepati host'

Amitabh Bachchan.

Lock kiya jai'

Of course.

At least, so thinks Shah Rukh Khan, who today dismissed all talk of competing with Bachchan, his predecessor as host of the most popular Indian TV show ever.

Terming comparisons with Big B as “odious and harmful”, Shah Rukh said he was always the “second-best choice”. It was only because Bachchan had declined to return to the famous black chair that “anybody in their heart and mind” could pick him.

King Khan today appeared for the first time as the new KBC host after the hurried announcement a few days ago when he was away in Melbourne shooting for Chak De India.

Unke joote mere liye bahut barein hai (Bachchan’s shoes are too big for me),” he said in a lighter vein.

“The idea is not to outdo anybody but to maintain the levels of class and beauty that Mr Bachchan took the show to. I am just genuinely excited, after a long time, to be part of something which has made history.”

SRK admitted that having seen him play Bachchan’s Don just a month ago, people might be expected to think he was now trying to do a Bachchan on the small screen.

“The real reason I took up the STAR offer is that I wanted to spend more time with the people who have kept me employed for the last 17 years,” he explained.

“The format of the show is such that I will be able to interact with everyone out there. My biggest challenge is to be able to extend that love, to be the dost (friend), not the host.”

Shah Rukh was happy to launch KBC in the city where he had started his television career.

“I wouldn’t say this is a comeback for me because I never left the medium,” he insisted. “I started out on TV and then went on to movies; and movies today form a huge part of TV. The small screen is no longer small. It has a bigger reach than movies and now I am hoping to become a bigger star. It’s a step up for me, not a step down.”

Shah Rukh had never made a secret of his admiration for the quiz show. In best friend Karan Johar’s popular chat show Koffee With Karan, he had said that the one thing Bachchan had and he hadn’t was KBC.

STAR maintained that Shah Rukh had been the channel’s only choice right from July when Bachchan expressed his lack of interest.

“Shah Rukh was in a list of one,” said STAR entertainment chief executive officer Samir Nair. “KBC made STAR number one from number three in just seven days, and we believe that Shah Rukh will make the show even bigger.”

Producer Siddhartha Basu said viewers wouldn’t miss Bachchan once the show returned on STAR Plus in mid-January.

“The original game is on in 106 countries and Mr Bachchan doesn’t host all of them,” he said. “Shah Rukh will bring his own wit, intelligence and style to the show. He thinks on his feet and there was an anchor waiting inside the actor in him all this while.”

As for the game, STAR said it’s the same: “The same Rs 2 crore to win, the same four lifelines, the same 15 questions, the same four options.”

But as the new campaign for KBC goes, with King Khan around, “something feels new”.

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