Saturday, November 24, 2012

Is KBC a chat show now?

Like millions of Indians, I too have always liked watching KBC (Even when SRK was hosting it and even though  I hated that 'Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls', the phrase which Indigo's Flight Crew seems to have picked up.) and tried to be on the show (all those SMSs coming to naught!)

For me the star of the show was not Amitabh Bachchan but the content (Senior Bachchan is omnipresent on the TV anyways!). It were the questions. The fun of testing one's own wits against that of the contestant. The thrill of knowing whether the answer was right or wrong. Gloating when it was right and nodding somberly ("Ahh, I was thinking of that one!") when you got it wrong. That was the fun.

In previous season, even though KBC threatened of being an extension of UPA's poverty eradication programs with virtually every episode featuring contestant who seemed to be screened after a look at their bank balance (and perhaps their 'Below Poverty Line' certificate) and being a showcase of their sob stories (I admit, some of the sob stories were touching), the show worked because the content was strong. There was no compromise on quality and quantity of questions.

But this year, the emphasis seems to be on chit-chat of the contestants with Mr. Bachchan. There is so much conversation that there is hardly enough time for questions. We know that contestants want to spend a lot of time with Mr Bachchan and talk to him, pay their (and their family and extended family members' and their locality's) tributes, express their love and admiration and talk about how they are the first person/boy/girl/woman/(any other gender) from their state/district/city/town/village/block/mohalla (thankfully we don't have any foreigners or aliens else we would have 'first person from Bhutan' or 'Neptune') to 'reach this stage', but there is only these many times when one can watch some one gushing over 'Sadi ke Mahanayak' and how they have already won a crore just by meeting him. (Curiously the contestants of 'Ghar Baithe Jeeto Jackpot' on the show give precisely this reason whether they play or don't play for the jackpot question!)

The fact that almost all the contestants seem to be competing with each others in indulging in what can only be called extreme flattery doesn't add to the watchability quotient. Add to this the sob stories which seem to have been concocted just to fill in the template of the show.

In a 90 minute episode of which perhaps 40 minutes (or what seems to be atleast 40 minutes!) are dedicated  to ads. Sony is the only network whose HD channel has as long ad breaks as its SD counterpart and what's worse is that the ad breaks on HD channel show only the trailers of its own now-pretty-much-horrible shows.

Unfortunately KBC-6 has become a two-way chat show questions and answers thrown in, rather than the quiz show it was intended to be.