By: Priyaranjan Trivedy
Friday, March 23, 2007
Amitabh Bachchan recently made a candid confession that he has not seen Shah Rukh Khan on Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) yet, although in the same breath he said that one day he would surely watch it and he was sure that Shah Rukh is doing a good job anchoring the show. But if the Television Audience Measurement (TAM) ratings are anything to go by, then it looks like a lot of people are not willing as yet to switch on their television to view this programme.
The TAM ratings show a decline in viewership of the latest edition of the popular quiz show meaning that Shah Rukh Khan may not exactly be doing a good job on KBC 3. A comparison of television viewership ratings (TVR) of Amitabh Bachchan's second stab at the show and SRK's debut as a quiz show host show a perceptible decline for the latter's show in the past couple of months.
Amitabh's debut on the show was a smashing success, with a TVR of 19.75 in August 2005, while Shah Rukh could only manage a rating of 12.33. While the Big B fell to 15 on day two, it was 10 for SRK and Day three saw a low of 10.33 for Amitabh Bachchan while Shah Rukh's KBC dipped to 7.36. However, the two ratings are actually not comparable, as the TAM now compares a larger geography than it covered before and the actual number of consumers who are covered by the TAM now is much higher than those covered by the previous ones.
Shah Rukh himself is fairly upbeat about his performance on the small screen. His conviction stems from the very positive feedback he receives regularly from a lot of people and says that the statistical figures as well as post-show analyses confirm the show's continuing popularity among the masses. However, the viewership trends could made a dent in the advertising spot rates of KBC3, with experts suggesting that the rate for a 10 second ad space could fall from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 3 lakhs. Even though the channel's late night viewership has increased once the show came on air, it can be said without any doubt that the initial interest in the show has waned somewhat.
The reactions have been varied to say the least, but it is only a reflection of just how diverse we as a nation are. Ever since the first episode was aired, there has been a plethora of divergent opinions, comments, and suggestions given on the show. Although it would be unfair to compare the two leading personalities of Bollywood, it nevertheless becomes inevitable, as Amitabh and Shah Rukh are the only two people to have hosted the game show till date.
To talk about the show, well pretty little has been done to revamp it. The studio set is identical to that of the previous show. Even the last contestant at the previous edition of the show was called in to continue his game. Even the background music is the same.
To speak of SRK, well his amazing on-screen persona is felt even in the real appearance, as he manages to infuse a new life into the programme. In some ways, things are different from the earlier version of the show. The catch phrase of 'Lock Kiya Jaye' has been smartly changed to 'Freeze Kiya Jaye' , just as 'Computer Jee' is rechristened as 'Compaq Da'; He conducts himself quite gamely during the show and endears himself to the contestants. For every right answer, SRK expects the person to give him high fives, and a hug when they eventually take a bow. To sum up, the show appears more like a game or a chat show rather than an intellectual quiz. Contestants cannot help losing seriousness at times, as SRK keeps things in a very light vein. In fact, his great sense of humor is one strong point of this KBC version, as he manages to pull off some good jokes without eating too much into the time of the show.
Let us delve into the past and analyze what the Big B had presented KBC like. He was definitely a bit more serious. He encouraged the contestants and made them feel comfortable, but he always exuded an aura of authority, dignity, and remarkable poise. He never let the contestant lose sight of the fact that he was there trying to make 2 crores, some serious money for a middle-class nobody. But he was gracious enough not to let his contestants lose their self-esteem or sense of dignity. He kept the audience alive and involved. In the process, he created television history, as he kept the show going for nearly two seasons without any major changes, and only poor health deterred him from blazing new trails with the programme.
So what we have seen till now are two completely different approaches to presenting the show. Both are enjoyable in their own ways. But which approach is more suited to the game that gives 2 crores to the winner is an issue on which opinions may vary. If one made you sit up in your chair, the other makes you to sit back and relax. Hence it needs a reiteration here that comparing the two legends is untenable, although there might be a temptation to do so, to provide more fodder for the media