The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Young & restless' Come home at 9
- Pranam for elders and a flying kiss for others, SRK knows his KBC crowd

Calcutta, Jan. 22: As India tuned in to check whether Shah Rukh Khan could fill the shoes of Amitabh Bachchan as the host of Kaun Banega Crorepati, King Khan himself was watching the first day, first show with his “STAR family” at the Taj Land’s End.

Here is a checklist on where SRK scored and why.

The Entry: The much-hyped three-minute music video, mixing hip-hop with bhangra, bikini babes with bulging biceps, has no place on a family show. Once the jhankaar beats faded out, an all-smiles SRK was a welcome sight. The star was all ready to play with a straight bat as he rattled off the ground rules — from what he will wear to what he will say. There was even a passing mention of a certain Mr Bachchan and a certain KBC Dwitiya.

The Look: After the disastrous wardrobe line-up for the Big B for Season Two, King Khan played it safe. A satin blue shirt and a coordinated tie and the familiar black Bachchan suit of the first season — Shah Rukh looked super smart. But knowing him, he is sure to spring a surprise or two (read, a riot of colours) in the coming episodes.

The Vocabulary: The man’s obviously more at ease with chalta hai Hindi. And what better way to break free from Bachchanspeak than with a Namak Halal-style AB rap, only in incomprehensible shudh Hindi' “Aap kuch samjhe'” he smiled impishly after the shudh gibberish.

And then the dimpled Don went wild. A contestant named Guggila became Guggs, the computer became Compaqdaru, with Bengali limericks for “Babumoshai” Prasenjit Sarkar from Kasba thrown in. The hours of homework were all too evident, in the garb of SRKspeak.

The Catchlines: In his first few episodes, when AB used to keep mouthing laboriously: “Sure' Confident' Lock kiya jaye'” few knew that they would seamlessly merge into our daily lingo. It is here that SRK has a headstart. From Episode One, his catch phrases work wonders. While “kachcha-kachcha ya pakka-pakka” and “freeze kiya jaye” are knockouts, “Main aapka intezaar kar raha hoon” before the break is a killer and the man’s twinkling eyes show that he knows it.

Connect with Contestant: If even Bachchan’s broadest smile would only inspire awe from the contestant, Shah Rukh’s actions do soothe the nerves. He actually gave a neck massage to his second contestant and even gave away his watch when he lost out! No-holds-barred is the attitude and super-friendly is the approach. And the warm hug at the end of it all is sure to keep the entry calls coming in.

But the high-fives after every right answer just didn’t work with the first contestant.

Connect with Audience and Viewers: “Bade ko mera pranam and for the rest…” an extended flying kiss! Shah Rukh knows the demographics of his fans and flaunts it. The one-liners delivered under his breath will continue to be his USP and just watch the way he soaks in that adulation. If AB was great to applaud and admire from a distance, SRK insists on taking everyone along on the roller-coaster ride.

The X Factor: Bachchan started KBC when he had almost become a nobody. Shah Rukh is in the hot seat at the peak of his big-screen career. He is the SRK we know — inimitably self-conscious, edgily restless and more — but only this time, he’s up close and personal. If AB had an almost paternal presence, SRK is stylish, sexy and starry.

Our Verdict: After the Big B excused himself no one could have been better than Shah Rukh as the quiz-master of the nation. Just as it happened with Don, the elders of the house may take time to welcome the hi-octane energy of King Khan and may even snigger at it in the first few episodes.

But the young and the restless are sure to return home a touch early, Mondays to Thursdays, 9 pm.

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