Remember Ghadiyal Babu from the first season of KBC and Shrimati Tiktiki from the last? They’ve got married since and produced a child, Sui Mui, who’ll needle the contestants in the new season,” smiles RD Tailang who’s been scripting the game show since it began.
RD admits that writing for Amitabh Bachchan is a challenge, given his personality and language prowess. “You can’t give him anything halka (light) and aam (ordinary). The words must carry weight, yet be simple. With him even a line like Yun gaya aur yun aaya (Be back in a jiffy) becomes a profound statement,” he says.
RD recalls that when KBC arrived in 2000, everyone was speaking Hinglish thanks to youth channel VJs who greeted you with a ‘Yo.’ But Big B opted to speak the common man’s language and greeted viewers with a Namashkar, adaab, satsri akaal, abhinandan and took them back to our roots. “A decade later, people still expect shudh bhasha (perfect Hindi) from him. The grammar and pronunciation must be correct, the vocabulary expansive and gyan (knowledge) not bookish. He will continue doling out life’s philosophy and urge viewers to follow traffic rules etc, but in a non-preachy style,” says RD.
From koi bhi insaan chhota nahin hota (no person is small), the tagline’s changed to gyan hi aapko aapka haq dilata hai (knowledge helps you attain your rights). This has led to the Panchkoti Mahamoney (Rs 5 crore booty) transforming into the Panchkoti Gyaankumbh. “We weren't thinking of Allahabad in particular, but the maha Kumbh melas where people from across the country converge in the hope of getting their heart’s desire, quite like KBC’s Hot Seat,” RD says. In the last season, Bachchan wrapped up each episode with a rhyme that has now been extended to e-mails, photographs and even home videos so start digging into your gyankumbh,” smiles RD. “With five days to go, Miss Sui Mui has started ticking.”
Big Boss: Bachchan vs Salman
I haven’t written for Salman Khan, but I did script one season of Big Boss with Mr Bachchan as the pop philosopher. Again, the difference lies in their personalities and approach. Salman is like a bhai who will warn the contestants that the next time they squabble, he will go into the House and pull them up. Bachchan saab is like bade bhai, a family elder who will try to sort out the matter, make the contestants understand who’s galat (wrong) and who’s sahi (right).
KBC: Big B vs SRK
Amitabh is a respected host, Shah Rukh (Khan) was an endearing dost (friend). His language was more youthful, halka phulka (light), humorous and conversational. Bachchansaab’s lines were more gambhir (serious), but now they are laced with fun because he can carry off comedy as effortlessly as intense drama. Both are superstars with their own connect.