Heart beats for Ramayan... | india | Hindustan Times
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Heart beats for Ramayan...

It?s not cricket, films, politics, or anything else. Mythology is the subject in which Indians show the highest knowledge quotient of Indians. ?The maximum response that we received in the phone-in round in KBC was to questions related to the Ramayan or Mahabharat. And there were more non-Hindus responding to the questions than Hindus,? said quiz master Siddhartha Basu, speaking on phone from New Delhi where he was in connection with his next game show, Heartbeat. ?Knowledge and interest in Hindu mythology cuts across all barriers and questions related to it gave just the pan-Indian character we wanted to give to the Indian version of ?Who Wants To Be A Millionaire???

india Updated: Apr 21, 2006 00:23 IST

It’s not cricket, films, politics, or anything else. Mythology is the subject in which Indians show the highest knowledge quotient of Indians. “The maximum response that we received in the phone-in round in KBC was to questions related to the Ramayan or Mahabharat. And there were more non-Hindus responding to the questions than Hindus,” said quiz master Siddhartha Basu, speaking on phone from New Delhi where he was in connection with his next game show, Heartbeat. “Knowledge and interest in Hindu mythology cuts across all barriers and questions related to it gave just the pan-Indian character we wanted to give to the Indian version of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’”

Basu, who conceived and hosted Quiz Time, the immensely popular show on Door Darshan, sees a sea change coming about TV. “As in all things, the skies too have opened up, and Indians are now more aware of global variety, currents and standards in television shows. Indian TV is still in an adolescent and development stage, but things are happening. TV today is primarily driven by commercial considerations. That has its strengths and limitations,” he said.

Asked what was the edge other game shows had over knowledge-based shows or vice versa, he quipped, “Knowledge-based shows engage the head as much as the heart!”

That brought us to Heartbeat, the programme to premier on Star TV from May 1.
“This programme will bring to the forefront the most private and latent side of the participants, which would also include celebrities,” said Basu. “There would be more than questions of general knowledge and the mind games the quiz master plays will give rise to some dramatic situations that are sure to keep the viewer glued to the TV making his heartbeat skip every now and then!”

With a good many number of years of quizzing behind him, what has he come to understand about Indians? Are we more knowledgeable than intelligent, or vice versa?

“I think our best can hold their own against the best in the world. And certainly we have intelligent people who are knowledgeable about a whole lot of things.

But I have no basis to generalise that Indians as a whole are well informed, or that they are better-informed than intelligent.”

So, what changes does he suggest in the present school curriculum/syllabus to strengthen the knowledge quotient of kids?

“I’d say, general knowledge is the realm beyond curriculum and text books. Students should be encouraged to find out more about the world outside, and to find out things for themselves.”

He gives us some more dope on KBC. “Our company produced KBC for Star TV. My personal role was that of the producer. For a communicator there can be no better feeling than to sense so many people pulsing to the heartbeat of the show as they did at the peak of KBC.”

“I think Amitabh Bachchan is undoubtedly one of the best hosts of the format world wide. He’s thorough and consientious in his preparation for each show.”

And when do we expect KBC ‘tritiya’? We hope to start shooting by the end of this year, InshaAllah!” he signs off.