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How Rupert Murdoch set ‘crore’ as the Kaun Banega Crorepati prize money

Kaun Banega Crorepati creator Siddhartha Basu reveals how they zeroed in on the 'crore' prize money, and opens up about getting Amitabh Bachchan on-board as the host.

Written by Sana Farzeen | Mumbai |
Updated: August 23, 2021 10:18:02 am
amitabh bachchan, kbc 13Starting August 23, Kaun Banega Crorepati 13 will air on Sony TV. (Photo: Express Archive)

Amitabh Bachchan-hosted Kaun Banega Crorepati 13 is all set to premiere on Monday. While the show has seen many contestants return home as crorepatis, not many know that the original prize money set for the show was in lakh. And it was biz king Rupert Murdoch himself who decided to put the crore tag on the show.

In a recent interview with, Siddhartha Basu, who helmed the show during the launch, revealed the story behind the final prize money. Basu, who is now a consultant on the reality show, shared that given the huge money at stake, it was definitely stressful for him and the Star Plus team to deliver.

When asked how did the team decide to jump to crore from the pre-decided lakh, he said, “Rupert Murdoch himself as it was then unprecedented on Indian TV and a game-changer, which he said was out of reach of the competitors.”



“KBC remains the most bountiful show ever in India with hitherto unmatched payouts. The prize money was one part of such a huge show — the open mass participation, the technology, the budget, the expectation — all were bigger than anything attempted till then, so yes, you bet it was ultra stressful, but then the challenge was far more exciting,” Siddhartha Basu further said.

While it’s a known story today that how Sameer Nair, then VP, Star Plus Programming suggested Amitabh Bachchan’s name as the host. Back then, no megastar had hosted a TV show in India, or anywhere else for that matter. “The intention was to make the biggest bang possible,” Basu shared.

However, it wasn’t easy for the team as Big B took some time to make up his mind about entering the small screen as he was generally counselled not to do so. Basu shared how the team flew to London on the original set of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? before the senior actor gave his nod to the project.


“However, he (Amitabh Bachchan) decided to see the recording of the original show in London before making up his mind. Once he saw it, he decided to do KBC with one rider that we replicate the conditions and discipline of that show. There was no looking back, and the scale and scope of shows on Indian TV expanded exponentially,” he shared.

And if you are wondering if Big B had a long list of don’ts, he didn’t, as Siddharth Basu shared, “Initially, he had reservations about talking about himself and getting personal with contestants. He opened up slowly and now thoroughly enjoys interacting with people from all walks of life.”

Starting August 23, Kaun Banega Crorepati 13 will air Monday-Friday, 9 pm on Sony TV.

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