MUMBAI: It was a night to remember for people in Surat who were entertained by none other than Amitabh Bachchan and Kapil Sharma.
Sony Entertainment Television took its property, ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, out of its sets for the first time and created magic at the Surat Stadium for the 7000 plus audience. The live event held on 2 August saw Big B open the season in his inimitable style along with a bevy of dancers with whom he grooved to songs sung especially by him for KBC.
The event was hosted by Kapil Sharma, who left the audience in splits with his impeccable comic timing. He also experienced the tension contestants go through as he sat on the hot seat for the first time. Sharma expressed his happiness of working with Sony again and sharing the KBC stage with Bachchan. "It is always a pleasure to work with him," he said.
SET senior EVP and business head Nachiket Pantvaidya added that getting Sharma on-board was a good move, considering his popularity among the masses. "He has added a lot of value to the show. Plus, he has worked with Bachchan before so there is a certain chemistry between the two which was an advantage for us," he informed.
Adding to the excitement were the iconic cops, Dayanand Shetty and Abhijeet from Sony’s popular crime show, ‘CID’, who interacted with the audience.
If that wasn’t enough to leave the audience spellbound, then the valiant warrior and Rajput hero, Faisal Khan from ‘Maharana Pratap’ surely did that with his stellar dance performance. The trio of Neeti Mohan, Meiyang Chang and Anirudh Dave also added to the entertainment quotient of the evening keeping the audience engaged in a musical banter. The charming Shillong Choir gave a heart- warming performance.
This year, the channel wanted to target the cities which usually are ignored. Pantvaidya believes that it is either the state capitals or the metros that get their share of entertainment. “Thus, there was a need to target the smaller cities which are otherwise ignored and not paid much attention to,” he said.
"If we connect across these smaller cities, we will be able to fulfill all those aspirations and we did that with Surat," added Pantvaidya.
According to SET SVP head marketing Gaurav Seth, it is also a good way to test how both, the brand and the channel, is doing in these cities.
The channel is quite happy to take the show outside the sets for the first time. "I am quite happy that everything went as per plan," opined Seth.
So what is new this season? Though the prize amount remains the same, Rs 7 crore, to make the show more interesting, two additional features have been added.
The expert advice lifeline has been converted into a panel of three wise men who will sit amongst the audience called ‘Triguni'. Upon being called, these three wise men will give the correct answer along with interesting trivia around the question.
Another interesting lifeline called ‘Code Red' will let the family of the participants tell them to quit, if needed, by pressing a buzzer placed in front of them. According to Pantvaidya, "This will also increase the number of factors in the game theory. This is not just a knowledge game but it is also about uncertainty in people's mind."
At the marketing front, the channel is leaving no stone unturned to create the buzz.
After Surat, it will be travelling to three other cities which have not yet been finalised. However, the aim is to keep the buzz alive at the same scale.
Seth believes that this season's core message 'Yahan Sirf Paise Nahi, Dil Bhi Jeete Jaate Hain' will be the constant catchphrase for the show.
"Keeping in with the promise of our brand, we are happy that we are able to integrate our thought into the content," added Pantvaidya.
To increase the level of engagement with the consumers, the channel has created a KBC app. For the first time, this year, wherein people sitting at homes can experience in real time and play by answering questions and win prizes.
Apart from this, social media is going to play a major role to drive the point. The channel has rolled on a 100 ground events, where people will share their experience of sitting on the hot seat on Facebook.
Though both the officials refused to disclose any financial details, sources from the industry estimate that around 30 per cent of the entire budget is being spent on marketing.
Four episodes have already been canned and are at the edit phase right now.
Though the channel is betting big and spending loads and loads of cash, media planners believe that like last year, this season will also not add value to the ratings and give the channel those numbers as expected.
Produced by Big Synergy, it will hit the television screens from 17 August, five days a week at 8.30 pm.