Saturday, March 10, 2007

An inside look at "Crorepati"

Sheila M. dropped in for tea last week along with her friends Ashok and Moyna with whom she was staying, in Bandra. A whole lot of people in the film industry are bound to know Sheila who has been visiting India for over thirty years now. She first came here through my aunt Chitra, with whom she attended the East West University in Hawaii in the early seventies.

Sheila is one of those Americans who knows the Indian film industry inside out and is able to make erudite comments on every movie from Mother India starring Nargis and Sunil Dutt to the antics of modern heroes like Shahrouk or Saif Ali Khan. Don't ask me how she manages it without knowing any Hindi but she can follow every little detail in an Indian film without the slightest problem.

Well during this particular trip to India she got it into her head to try and wangle a pass for the shooting of "Kaon banega Crorepati" - the quiz show which Shahrouk has taken over from His Holiness Amitabh and is currently filling up with his coy dimpled smiles. So apparently Khalid M organised one for her. We got to know from Sheila that the whole shooting is anything but a simple direct affair. The one hour show (with commercial breaks) lasts over three hours during which time nobody is allowed to leave the hall. I dont know what would happen if you needed urgently to pee, maybe you could find a way to crawl to the exit, without anyone seeing you and breaking up the shoot. And they also do shots over again I found out, if the first shot isn't right. So the guy who won 50 lakhs was supposed to do a second take and to try not to act like he knew he'd just won that huge amount which means, he was obliged to produce the same gasp of wild surprise at seeing how far he'd come.

I don't normally watch Croreopati but I decided to, on this occasion. I kept looking out for Sheila in the audience but didn't catch the smallest glimpse of her - or even anybody looking like her. But I had the satisfaction of watching the lucky participant act surprised when he won his fifty lakh rupees at the end. Maybe Yash Chopra or Rakesh Roshan will now offer him a role in the next blockbuster they come up with.

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