'It's an absolute pleasure to direct Big B,' Arun Sheshkumar on the upcoming season of Kaun Banega Crorepati
The 11th season of one of India’s most watched reality TV shows, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), kicks off on August 19. The only primetime show that tops the TRP charts during weeknights, KBC engages the Indian audience not just in metro cities, but also in smaller towns and villages. While the prize money during Season One was a mere Rs 1crore, today, in its 11th season, KBC promises prize money of Rs 7 crore.
The biggest highlight of the show is its host, the indomitable Amitabh Bachchan. However, one man, who has helmed the show behind the camera, directing Big B, since 11 years (from Season Six), is director Arun Sheshkumar. Arun, who has worked on other reality TV shows like Satyamev Jayate and Dus Ka Dum, continues to be associated with KBC for the innovation that he brings in. Excerpts from a chat with Arun:
With the use of latest technology and visual experiences, the director ensures, KBC has something new to offer, that complements the show’s content. “This season we have taken the augmented reality to the next level. All the augmented reality graphics offer a three-dimensional view to the audience. Such graphics were used only during live cricket telecast and IPL matches, this is the first time that these are being used for a quiz show,” says Arun.
In addition to the visual effects, the director shares their experiment of bringing the host of the show, Amitabh Bachchan, closer to the audience by capturing his movements using a buggy camera. Akin to a mini car, the buggy camera follows Big B across the sets. Arun further reveals, “The camera also gives a 360 degree dimension view of the KBC set to the television audience.”
The endearing Big B
Although such new technical experiments add to the production value of the show, Arun agrees that Big B is an indispensable part of KBC (Hindi). The 76-year-old star remains the key factor behind the show’s success. “It’s an absolute pleasure to direct him,” enthuses Arun who has been a Big B fan even before he ventured into directing shows. “What you see him do on the show, like offering his handkerchief when someone gets emotional, or hugging a fan on request, is his real personality. He is the epitome of humility,” adds the director. When asked if the star host knows the answers beforehand, Arun clarifies, “Mr Bachchan doesn’t know any of the answers. Only when the answer is locked, he gets a cue if it is right or wrong and according to that he reacts to the participant. Only Mr Siddharth Basu and his team know the questions and answers. It’s highly secretive.”
With every season, KBC has been showcasing participants who come from varied backgrounds and Arun says, it takes a lot of effort to bring such worthy individuals to the show. “After the first round of call-in winners are selected, participants have to give a test and only the highest scorers make it to the show. Even the audience that comes for every episode is hand-picked. They need to be aware and knowledgeable to a certain extent because they are critical to the audience poll — a lifeline used by the contestant,” explains Arun.
With the show beginning on Monday, Arun and his team are looking forward to another successful season, but he admits that there are times when they too get emotional on sets, and it’s all real. “We don’t overdo any emotions. We just live the moment. There have been times when we too have cried with the contestants,” he signs off.
From August 19, weeknights, 9 pm on Sony TV
ayeshatabassum@ newindianexpress.com @aishatax