Those who claim Shah Rukh Khan is a worthy successor to Amitabh Bachchan will be able to say it a little louder now. From January, Khan will play the quizmaster on Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). The deal was closed on Saturday.
"Sameer Nair ( CEO, Star Entertainment, India) had been discussing the idea with Khan for quite some time," says Shailja Kejriwal, senior creative director, Star India Pvt Ltd. "Khan has been signed on for two seasons of 52 episodes each."
Khan thinks the show will give him an opportunity to be in direct touch with his audience. "It is a show that is both popular and intelligent," he says. "I have always watched it, and it is a happy coincidence that Siddhartha Basu and Star feel I should now be the quizmaster."
Basu, creative director for KBC, says: "Even six years ago we were toying with the idea of whom to get on the show if not Bachchan. And Khan was one of the few names that kept popping up. His wit, charm, youthfulness, personality and charismatic will, to my mind, rejuvenate the show."
KBC Dwitiya was abruptly shelved in January this year when Bachchan had intestinal complications which required prompt surgery. He could not complete the shooting for about 20 more rounds which he had signed on for. He has since said talks were on with the channel to finish the remaining. But Nair says: "Bachchan expressed his inability to shoot with us any further, and we respected that."
Khan is certain to cost Star big bucks. Sources, on condition of anonymity, say while Bachchan was paid Rs 50 lakh per episode for KBC, Khan is expected to take home around Rs 75 lakh. Nair, who has referred to Khan as a 'diamond' in the past, refuses to give details. But he does say something else: "Nothing in life comes cheap."