General Review Viewpoint

Kaun Banega Crorepati – KBC 4: A Review

“Khaike paan banaras waala,

Khul jaaye band akal ka taala…”

As Amitabh Bachchan’s booming voice, sung (a slightly-tweaked version of) his own popular track, gyrating with thirty-odd beauties, millions of eyeballs applauded. The song-dance sequence by Amitabh officially kicked off the much-awaited fourth edition of Kaun Banega Crorepati.

The studio was a far-cry from the previous studios of the show. Huge pillars added a gothic touch to it – even though the arrangement of the studio remained the same. The new logo of KBC – featuring the new ‘rupee’ sign was emblazoned on the wall. Amitabh walked into the studio from in-between the pillars, with his trademark ‘welcome message’ “Namashkaar, adaam, sat sri akal. Aap sab ko swagat hai, Kaun Banega Crorepati mein!”

As talks about the fourth edition of the country’s most popular game show (which gained immortality through ‘Slumdog Millionaire’) started, there were enough apprehensions. The KBC journey was all downhill – the show progressively plummeted in popularity, season over season. While KBC 1 was shot Star TV to the number 1 slot, Season 2 failed to reach the same level of success, although TRPs hovered around an impressive 9-11. But it had its premature death, with Amitabh falling sick before long. Shah Rukh tried to repeat the AB magic with KBC3, but in vain. Even though the Khan received filmfare awards for the best TV show host and the show was declared the best game show, TRPs did hit rock bottom.

Having burnt its fingers with KBC3, Star TV laid hands off the new edition of India’s most popular game show. Sony Entertainment Television grabbed the opportunity with open arms. Amitabh was back in the reckoning, and the process of ‘return’ started. The core-team had not changed – Sidhartha Basu was still in charge of the groundwork – namely, the questions. There were apprehensions though. With a melange of game shows on TV, would the viewer opt for good-old KBC? The auditions started.

Over 50 lakh people stood in endless queues, and filled endless forms – for that one-on-one with the star of the millenium.

KBC had arrived, once more.

Ten among those 5 million applicants made it to the final round. From a mass communication student to a chef – these ten people hailed from ten different parts of the country, from ten different backgrounds. One of the contestants was a participant in KBC Junior. When informed of the fact, Amitabh jokingly-remarked: “Thank you for making me realize how old I am,” graceful words from a gracious actor!

The contestants had settled down – it was time for the ‘Hot Seat’ question.

“Arrange the following words of this Hindi proverb, in order,” the booming voice instructed.

3.53 seconds later – Rajesh Chauhan, from Jheemar UP, clad in a green shirt and a wide grin, walked onto the hot seat – The lucky first participant of KBC4. “Chale hum, aur aap khelte hai Kaun Banega Crorepati,” Amitabh’s voice echoed with a magical boom. Chauhan, who runs a general store, said that he has been preparing to attend the show for over a decade.

Slight changes were made to the KBC format, to keep with the times. Like the previous editions of KBC, this one also has 12 questions, with prize money starting from 1,000, going on to 1 Crore.  Amitabh announced a surprise package later on – there was a 13th ‘jackpot’ question too, which would give the winner a whopping 5 Crore. The first two questions had a time limit of 30 seconds (The ‘Khadiya-babu’, takes a side-seat with ‘Computer-ji) – the question stands cancelled if participants fail to answer it on time. The remaining questions will have a time limit of 45 seconds, until the 7th question – after which, ‘Khadiya-babu’ remains suspended. The prize money-increments remain the same, however.

The ‘lifelines’ have been slightly tweaked – There are a total of four lifelines, this time. The first three – ‘Audience Poll’, ‘Phone a friend’ and ‘Ask an Expert’ – will be available throughout the game. ‘Ask  an expert’ is a new ‘lifeline’ – where experts on a domain will be assisting contestants, with their questions. The fourth-lifeline is a modification of 50/50 – the ‘Double Dip’. It will only be available to contestants after the seventh question (after winning the 3,20,000 price). In double dip – a contestant can answer twice. That is, he could answer wrong once, and get away with it, only to try a second time. Quite interesting.

Charu Sharma was the ‘expert’ for Episode 1. Through videoconferencing (apparently – it could even been an earlier recording), he wished Amitabh a happy birthday (the show was telecast on Amit-ji’s birthday) and Chauhan good luck. Chauhan had a surprise in store – his favourite actor, Sanjay Dutt was with Charu, on the screen. Chauhan was enamored with surprise. So much for being the first contestant in the country’s most popular game show!

Soon, the game began.

Chauhan, a wide-eyed village dweller appeared calm and confident. His preparation showed, and his answers were quick and spot-on. From easily identifying the “orange city of india” (Nagpur), to presciently realizing the chess piece occupying the maximum position (pawn), Rajesh Chauhan enjoyed a dream run. He was not sure about India’s first spaceship to moon – and needed a lifeline to opt for ‘Chandrayaan 1’.  Charu Sharma helped him out with the seventh question, telling him that NREGA was named after none other than the father of our nation – Mahatma Gandhi.

Rajesh Chauhan made Rs 3,20,000.

Amitabh had twelve cheque leaves ready for each contestant – signing cheques as rounds passed. Chauhan had bagged his 3,20,000 cheque. That was when Amitabh broke the 5 crore ‘jackpot’ prize that was kept under the hood until then. The crowd was euphoric, and Chauhan was tensed – now he had to get home with the 5 crore.

Bachchan shot his eighth question – Rajesh had to identify what these four were: Gyaneshwari, Lichchavi, Gorakhdham and Sarayu. After a lot of thought, Chauhan correctly identified Lichchavi and Sarayu as rivers and went for the same option. Bachchan quizzed him repeatedly: “Is this your final answer?” Chauhan nodded.

He was wrong.

The four are express trains plying through the country – and the four suffered accidents over the past year.

Chauhan’s face wilted in disappointment. Probably realizing that every emotion of his was being captured by ten-odd cameras, he doubled up and smiled – smilingly accepting his 3,20,000 cheque (30% of which, he’d be losing to the Income Tax department).

The show was not over for Chauhan. Before he could bat an eyelid, lo and behold, Sanjay Dutt walks into the studio! Rajesh was overcome with happiness – and Sanjay gave a warm ‘jaadu ki chappi’ to the general store-propreiter. Together, Sanjay and Rajesh sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to Amitabh, and both of them left the studio.

It was time for the next ‘Fastest Finger first’ – and the nine remaining contestants peered onto the television screens. This time, the contestants had to arrange members of the ‘Kapoor’ family in decreasing age. Only 3 got it right, and Alok Kumar, from Orissa did it in a little over 5 seconds. This dude, a self proclaimed quizzer, was severely hit by the ‘heat’ of the hot seat. Tensed to the core, Alok was un-nerved, and used up both his lifelines in the first three questions. Before Amitabh could ask the fourth question, the famed ‘KBC alarm’ rang – and the show was over, one and a half hours later.

KBC-1 was all about seeing the charm and charisma of the Big B in the small screen. Season over season, the charm wilted out. The Shah Rukh effect, maybe – it was a pleasure to watch Bollywood’s biggest superstar on the small screen, once again. The wait to see Bachchan-saab on television was indeed reminiscent of the same feeling I all went through, ten years back. Big B is bigger, KBC has changed (a new logo, a new format and a new channel) – but the charm and the appeal remains the same. KBC4 has nothing new to offer, it’s the same old wine – which now tastes better, having aged by ten years. KBC4 is not just a trip back to memory lane; it maybe reworked trivia quiz – at times a tad too trivial, but it’s a show that affects you. It’s one show, that you’ll be able to recall – scene-by-scene, question-by-question.

Do watch Kaun Banega Crorepati 4 on Sony Entertainment Television, every Monday – Thursday, at 9 PM.

Especially, those of you who missed out on the earlier avatars – you’re gonna love it, trust me.

Image Courtesy:, Wikimedia Commons.

General WordPress

A New Lease of Life

I took a short break sometime back, promising that there wouldn’t be any more breaks.

Well, promises are made to be broken. 🙂

Breaking promises isn’t new to me. I’ve broken quite a lot of them. On an average, I’ve broken at least half of all promises I’ve made. And that’s not something I’m proud of – even though I might make it seem this way.

Now, that’s another topic of discussion altogether.

Ah yes, the ‘break’. As you might’ve guessed or inferred, I broke the promise again.

I put an abrupt end to blogging.

But when you stop, or when you leave, there ought to be a return. Every coin has its flip side, every action has its opposite. Likewise, every ‘break’ has its return – and here I am.

I’ve broken another promise, but I’ve returned – for good (hopefully).

New Lease of life.

If I’d made the statement that I’d blog regularly for good one month back (err… I actually did that, didn’t I?) – I would’ve said it with conviction. I’ve always had this haughty voice in my head, an optimistic haughty voice, which commands my actions. And that voice chanted those words to me – I merely reproduced them. I was so sure of myself. I knew I was unstoppable. I knew ideas would come flowing.

I was arrogant.

Well, ideas didn’t exactly come flowing. Alright, that would be tall – there were ideas. All I had to do was to just sit and type. But I procrastinated the job. I procrastinated it for one month, 15 days and six hours. As for every instance of my procrastination, I had reasons to justify myself. I always had reasons – some true, some fake. In this case, the reasons were genuine. The new job (as some of you may know, I work for a web portal these days – more on that coming later), didn’t give me a lot of time for myself. Not that I was too busy or anything. But I used the excuse to procrastinate, on and on. I either killed post ideas or either shelved them. Blog posts continued to exist(?) as carcasses in my mind’s cold storage.

Now, as I return to my eternal love – my blog, I can’t bring them all back to life. I’m no witch-doctor. All I can do is to try.

‘Try’. It’s a funny word. A ‘corporate trainer’ I interviewed the other day was telling me that ‘trying’ is the most futile thing ever. You either do, or you don’t. You do not try, he said.

Still, all I can do is ‘try’. I can coax my mind to think, I can pump words into my fingers, I can pour thoughts from my mind into the greyish-calm of this WordPress Editor. I’m trying. I shall continue to try – as long as my heart pumps blood to my mind…

It’s official, folks. I chose the red pill, is back in the reckoning. 🙂

The New Job

I didn’t exactly want to beat the drums about the new job – but yeah, on second thoughts…

You all know my predilection for being prolific. Sadly, the new job calls for conciseness.

I joined as a Reporter, on August 4th, 2010. For those who don’t know Yentha – it’s a one stop source for all information on the city of Trivandrum. News, views, articles, business listings, life… you name it, we have it. 🙂 It’s been an eventful couple of months. I shall speak in detail about all that in the next post.

Wait for it. 🙂


I’m here to stay. Not to ‘break’. 🙂


LA Fest 2010: A Curtain Raiser

It’s been 15 years, and like old wine, it’s getting better by the year. The fest, today has reached the pinnacle of popularity, competing against its own history for perfection.

Presenting LA Fest – the inter-school cultural festival by Loyola School, Trivandrum.

LA Fest was the brainchild of Loyolites of the 1996 batch. Young minds, tormented by a barrage of nerve-wrecking academic pressures badly craved for a break. They, along with their English teacher, charted out a plan and presented a proposal to the then Principal, who, after skepticism, gave the go ahead. Since then, there was no looking back. Each year, the fest would evolve to a totally new level. A festival whose total expenditure came down to less than Rs. 10,000 during its inception, LA Fest stands mighty tall with almost twenty times as much money pooled in, this time around. The USP of this festival is the fact that it’s manned entirely by students; everything from minor technicalities to major responsibilities of the stage. The students of 11th and 12th grade toil together for months to make this event stand out. There’ve been many clones of LA Fest, but none have come remotely-close to the original.

The events at LA Fest are unique. Each year, there’s a new event, along with five fixed events (which have evolved along the years too). The events being Harmony (Group Song), an audio visual quiz, LA Persona (The prestigious Personality competition), Dance o’ Mania (Group Dance) and Block n’ Tangles. This year has a unique event called Frenzy Frequency – which is about a team managing a Radio Show (complete with an RJ and his/her sidekicks) on stage. All events are pioneered by the students themselves. Special care and attention is taken to ensure the quality of  all the events – depicted by the sheer fact that the innovative events/ideas brought out by LA Fest are hugely adapted by the others.

Participation by alumni of the school is also a forte. For each LA Fest, senior Loyolites flock to the school by hoards to help the guide the kids with their events. LA Fest has been graced by the presence of celebrities too. Today’s superstar Prithviraj was a participant in two LA Fests – he remains to be the only person to have won the personality contest (LA Persona) twice. Cine-actor Abhirami, has won the Miss LA Fest title.

The fifteenth edition of LA Fest is taking place today (3rd of July, 2010) at Loyola School, today. 🙂 Watch this space for updates.

General Life

10 shortcuts to instant-happiness

Happiness is bliss, but the quest for it often isn’t. Broadly speaking, the very purpose of life is happiness – we live our lives to stay happy. All our deeds are directed toward happiness. However, dire situations in life block this emotion from within. Alright, life isn’t always a bed of roses, but drowning oneself in the wine of sorrows is pointless.

Such occasions demand instant happiness – quite like a painkiller. Here are ten effective tips to inject sorrows out of your system in a short span-of-time. I can’t ensure cent-percent success, but I’ve been a guinea pig myself and these have worked like charm: 🙂

Here goes:

1. Talk.

The simplest key to happiness; find a buddy and talk! Anything and everything – your blues, your pains; even a flimsy Tintumon joke would do. Once a healthy conversation (preferrably a long-one) is over and done with, you’d be back to your happier-self. This works even if you’re an introvert, in which case, you should get the other person to talk to you. Side-effect: hefty phone bills. 😐

2. Do your thing.

What’s ‘your thing’? Everyone has his/her obsession that makes him/her happy – it varies from person to person. If you’re into books, dust open that elusive book from your shelf and glue yourself. If music is your mind and soul, listen listen to some soothing Floyd. Or worse, if you’re that bookworm who’s obsessed with studies, try formulating a theory of your own and verify it yourself! 😛 Your ‘bad mood’ might make you feel skeptical about your ability to pursue your passion when you’re down, but that’s just a negative thought. Give your passion a try, and you’d find yourself smiling again as you successfully go about doing it. 🙂

3. Put yourself into motion.

Wake up lazybones and give thy booty a quick shake. Don’t slump down in despair, instead, give your entire system a boost of motion. Add a tinge of motion to whatever you do – if you’re reading, try walking about. Add a momentary briskness to your gait. Pump faux-energy to your voice, take a walk outside; even climb up and down your staircase for good measure. Some energy’s goanna do you good! 🙂

CC Credits: samikrc

4. Be a good-samaritan for a change

Drug your evil twin and try doing something noble for a change. Pass along a gratifying message forward. Cheer up a buddy, donate some money for a needy person or feed a hungry child – do your bit to make the world a better place. Just a small gesture shall bring a smile to your face. 😀

5. Talk about your good deed

There’s no harm in publicizing the good deed you just did. Beat the drums about it; reverse karma ensures that once the word is out of your mouth, happiness shall fill your tormented mind.

6. A walk to remember

Don your walking shoes and take a walk across the street;  especially so if it’s morning. Nothing adds more positivity to brain cells than a good walk in daylight, swear researchers. If your climate so allows, make sure to bask yourself in the bright morning light. Also, try walking the talk – find a walk-buddy and ‘walk-the-talk’. A happiness-high shall sure ensue.

7. Task out the task

Have a long-pending dentist appointment? Remember that library book whose fine has now run into hundreds? Take up minor daily chores that you’ve procrastinated over time. Assign priorities and complete them. Once each bugging chore is off the list, your mind shall heave a progressive sigh of relief, ushering in a rush of spirits.

8. Spread the love

Spread the warmth of your love as you meet your loved ones. Text that friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Give your girlfriend/boyfriend a pleasant surprise. When you share your love and care, your buddies shall reciprocate and you’d feel wanted yourself. Even an arbit ‘take care’ goes a long way, longer than you imagine.

9. Imbibe knowledge

Known is a drop and unknown is an ocean. A few gulps of the unknown ocean shall flush out needless negativity from your system. Find an area which you’ve been dying to know more of. Google/Wiki it and treat yourself to nuggets of information. Trust your intuition on this – these new nuggets of info should be upon something you actually have a penchant for. Enlightenment has its effects.

10. Fake happiness

A li’l plastic smile does help at times. Researches have proved that even artificially-induced smiles help boost moods. This, ideally, should be the last arrow in your quiver and is sure-shot success. Laughter therapy is a variant of fake happiness; so fake a smile until you feel real joy. What’s more you’d look your best with that pretty smile on your face, and you’d present yourself as approachable to people.

Happiness is infectious. Once you’re out of the blues, make it a point to spread your joy! 🙂 Remember, love only multiplies itself as it spreads. 😀 And enjoy it while it lasts – do try to make it last longer. 😀