Mr. Amitabh Bachchan is KBC, says show director Arun Sheshkumar

Long journey: It’s been 19 years and director Arun Sheshkumar (right) is yet to get used to being around Amitabh Bachchan .  

Since 2000, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) has been entertaining millions of Indians all over the country. The reality television show, now in its eleventh season, has had a single director behind the camera all this time. The Hindu spoke with Arun Sheshkumar to get a sense of what it means to call the shots on KBC, a staple in the TV viewing diet of Indian audiences. “It’s a real show,” says the director with evident passion for his work. “It connects with millions of Indians and gives a platform to people to come and share their stories, knowledge and make a difference to their lives.”

While adapting an international format to Indian television, the biggest challenge for Sheshkumar was to make the show appeal to Indian audiences while preserving its popular format. “We had the vision of Siddhartha Basu, who is by far the best quizmaster India has ever produced,” says the director.

Charitable ventures

Each season also brings something new by way of technology, use of camera techniques, lighting or set design. “We have to make it look different each year without ruining the sanctity of the show,” he adds. But after all these years and over 700 episodes, Sheshkumar has yet to get used to being around host Amitabh Bachchan. “I don’t see anybody else who can do what he does,” he says. “A perfectionist, passionate and punctual are the three Ps that Mr. Bachchan embodies.” The veteran actor’s enthusiasm has been an inspiration for the show’s crew to work harder than the previous season. “It becomes a bit challenging since he’s expecting a certain degree of perfection. We work hard so that he has a good journey while shooting the whole season because Mr. Bachchan is KBC,” the director emphasises.

Listening to and learning from each contestants’ struggles and triumphs has become one of the most enriching experiences for Sheshkumar. To showcase these special stories, the show’s latest season features ‘Karamveer’. One such contestant has been Afroz Shah, responsible for changing the face of Versova beach in Mumbai. Bachchan was so inspired by his work that he invited the crew to go to Versova one Sunday morning to help Shah and personally contribute in any way he could.

Sound advice

KBC has always constant stream of celebrities who face tough questions on the hot seat for charity or when a new release is around the corner. Sheshkumar and his team often have to come up with new ideas to keep audiences intrigued. One such episode guest starred Shah Rukh Khan. “We don’t get to see these two stalwarts interacting on camera so casually,” remembers the director fondly adding that it was a surreal experience. “The camaraderie that they share was amazing, the stories that [Khan] had about Mr. Bachchan, and [the former] being his charming self got a lot out of Mr. Bachchan.” Another time, Abhishek Bachchan came on the show and took up the role of the host asking his father some questions. “It was so much fun to see the son play the father’s role,” laughs Sheshkumar.

With a television career spanning 18 years, Sheshkumar has worked on most of the popular Hindi reality shows like Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, Satyamev Jayate and India’s Got Talent. When asked what his advice would be to aspiring professionals, he is quick to state that all he can share are his experiences. “One piece of advice that has helped me through my journey is to stay grounded,” he says. “Success can really go to your head!” He also added that one is always learning in this industry and it should never stop. “Hard work, passion and honesty will help any aspiring director to be where someone want to be,” he concludes.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 10:33:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/mr-amitabh-bachchan-is-kbc-says-show-director-arun-sheshkumar/article29280912.ece

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