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Pak firm cashing in on Big B's popularity

A call-in telephone company is doing brisk business by using the Bollywood actor's voice for its quiz show.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2006 14:37 IST

Exploiting the huge popularity enjoyed by Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan in Pakistan, a call-in telephone company is doing brisk business by using him as a front for its quiz show, made on the lines of the cult hit Kaun BanegaCrorepati.

Bachchan who hosted the successful KBC for two seasons on Star TV features prominently on all the promotional advertisements and slots for the call-in telephone quiz show titled, Kya aap banengay crorepati (Do you want to become a millionaire).

The impression any ordinary caller or person gets is that Bachchan is hosting the quiz show for the Telefun company, but in reality the company has very smartly mixed up voice takes from the original KBC and its own host who sounds and speaks like Bachchan to lure callers.

The company was pulled up by the local government before Pakistan's Independence Day of August 14, when it put up giant banners all over Karachi in which Bachchan invited callers to take part in the programme in front of a Pakistan flag.

The civic authorities didn't take kindly to an Indian even if it was the hugely popular Bachchan with the Pakistan flag in such a blatant manner and had Telefun change their banners and posters and remove the Pakistan flag from the background.

But despite that drawback, the company has found that Bachchan still sells specially among Pakistanis who have been brought up on a regular diet of Indian films, television soap operas and songs.

He didn't bother to dwell on the ethical aspect of Bachchan's name and voice being used to promote a quiz show without his consent.

"Bachchan sahib sells in Pakistan and his name is synonymous with KBC. And our programme is based on that idea."

A call to take part in the show costs a caller Rs 14 per minute and once he enters into the programme he is greeted with a format based exactly like KBC with the voice of Bachchan thrown in at appropriate moments for good effect.