Life has come full circle for Sushil Kumar, winner of the fifth season of Sony TV’s popular game show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) in 2011, the first one to offer Rs 5 crore as prize money.
A little over three years after he was declared KBC winner, the small time computer operator from Motihari in north Bihar acknowledges that the spotlight is long gone.
Kumar is 'jobless’ – not even as gainfully employed as his pre-KBC Rs 6,000 per month computer job with MGNREGA, the rural development ministry’s job generation scheme.
“What I am left with now is very little money, no career prospect and a whole lot of disappointment”, Kumar told HT on Wednesday.As long as he basked in the glory of KBC victory, offers to endorse a few products and an invitation to be the brand ambassador of rural development ministry came his way.
But that is past. His dream of taking coaching in New Delhi to become an IAS officer never fructified and his stint as an icon to whom the young KBC aspirants looked upon for guidance is all but over.
Earlier this week a ‘frustrated’ Kumar met former Bihar CM Nitish Kumar for the first time at his Patna residence to “congratulate him for the good work he had done for Bihar as its CM”.
Nitish persuaded him to give a ‘motivational speech’ to JD(U) youth wing activists gathered at his house in Patna.
But if Kumar was looking for a possible break in politics, ahead of the Bihar assembly poll due later this year, he got nothing that could raise his hopes.
“Politics never came up for discussion. Perhaps, I am not cut out for it”, he told HT.Now 32, Kumar concedes the best he could now hope for is to become a school teacher. "I have done B.Ed, you know", he said, wistfully.
After taxes took their toll on Kumar’s KBC booty, his prize money had declined to approximately Rs 3.6 crore. Kumar acknowledges very little of that money remains.
“Much of the money was spent in building a house which I share with my parents and four brothers. I have also purchased a plot of land in Motihari in the name of my mother and some agricultural land”, he said.
Another chunk of the prize amount, he said, was spent on setting up businesses for his brothers “as we are still a joint family”.
But he concedes such ‘joint efforts’ have not gone well with his wife. “She feels little has gone her way in terms of the fruits of my KBC victory and that her life had not improved anywhere near the way it should have with so much money coming my way”, Kumar conceded.
The 2011 KBC hero says he has some interest income from bank fixed deposits made out of the KBC money and a small income from drawing milk from four cows he has purchased.
“But I can’t say my earning in anywhere near enough”, he admitted.