Unfazed by comparisons to Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan is busy rehearsing for Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) and basking in the buzz created by the promos.
The stage is set for the third innings of STAR Plus's KBC, which is to go on air Jan 22. Shah Rukh is all set to win the audiences over if the warm ad campaign is any indication.
"Shah Rukh is a general knowledge freak and I am a general knowledge fan too. I am eagerly waiting for the show to go on air. Comparisons are unfounded because Shah Rukh has his own style and he will do it in his own way," Nikhil Advani, who directed the star in Kal Ho Naa Ho, told IANS.
Shah Rukh's determination to win had him put up mock sets of the KBC show at his home - Mannat - so that he could practise. He reportedly rehearses five hours daily with friends like Karan Johar, Farah Khan and Ganesh Hegde.
According to a study by Hansa Research for Optimum Media Solutions, Amitabh is more popular as an anchor among all age groups and genders.
The research showed that 71 percent of those who participated in the poll are willing to give the programme an initial try while eight percent will not watch it at all and 21 percent will watch all episodes.
"Shah Rukh is a phenomenal guy and he is not going to play any role on this show. He is going to be what he is, a very down to earth, humble guy. He will be extremely charming and people are going to have more lighter moments on the show because he is determined to make them happy," said Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, the creative director of O&M, which conceptualised the promos.
The research explored host preference, interest in programme, changes expected by viewers, reaction time, competitive slots and implication for advertisers. As expected Shah Rukh has more takers among women and younger audiences.
"I am getting more calls from female journalists. This shows his popularity among women. I am not a diehard Shah Rukh fan, but I have seen him rehearsing for the show and have changed my opinion about him. He is vibrant, hardworking and extremely energetic. I am confident that he will be able pull it off very well," added Mahabaleshwarkar.
The format of the game show will stay with minor changes - the set has been changed and the background will be red.
"Bachchan is like a sky for us that's why the colour was blue but main is desh ka lal hoon (I am this country's darling) so the colour is red," explains Shah Rukh.
Even though KBC will coincide with the World Cup, the response from sponsors was overwhelming. According to media reports, KBC has raked in over Rs.1 billion for its third innings.
Paritosh Joshi, president - sales and distribution - of Star India, said: "We at STAR do not comment on revenue and we have not bothered to confirm or deny the reports. But I will say that we have done exceedingly well and have earned handsome revenue from the show.
"But the fact is that we didn't negotiate very hard because the client's interest was very, very high."
Joshi also said that cricket poses no threat to KBC.
"Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainty and the advertisers don't get the value for money that is promised. But KBC is a unique show, which has a universal appeal because we are a knowledge-conscious society. It is a truly family-viewing show and the risk is factor is not so high," he added.
Last year's sponsors Airtel, Hyundai and Cadbury are joined by new players Pantaloon Retail (Big Bazaar), Godrej Sara Lee, UTI Mutual Fund, Videocon, Godrej Sara Lee, Jyothi Lab, Big Bazaar and the UB group. Replacing Nokia is Motorola this time.
However, two decisions are yet to be made - the bank issuing the cheques and a replacement for the famous "Lenovo" computer.