Behind the scenes, on the Kaun Banega Crorepati 12 sets

Covid2019 protocols have led to changes in the way the marquee show is being produced.

MUMBAI: The Covid2019 pandemic has disrupted projects and thrown well-crafted schedules out the window. But the team of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) is ready to bounce back with the same enthusiasm and with double the precautions in place.

In adherence to strict social distancing norms, its sets have undergone a complete overhaul. While the core of the programme remains the same, the latest edition comes with a few modificationsin keeping with the times.

One such change is that for the first time in 20 years, KBC will not host in-studio audiences as per government-mandated safety guidelines and protocols in response to Covid2019. The in-studio audience played a huge role as a lifeline – the audience poll helped contestants on the hotseat advance in the game. To replace this lifeline, video-a-friend has been introduced.

KBC showrunner and creative producer Sujata Sanghamitra said: “The country is looking at each other through screens now; hence this new lifeline. The other three lifelines– 50:50, ask the expert and flip the question – will remain.”

According to Sanghmitra, the makers had to rework several rules and figure out logistics to ensure that social distancing is maintained.

“The number of fastest finger first contestants competing for the hot seat has been reduced from the usual ten to eight. The designs of the hot seat and the contestants’ chair have also changed, there's more of a gap now,” she elaborated.

Read more news on KBC

Soon after recovering from Covid2019 and the mandatory rest period thereafter, actor and host Amitabh Bachchan made himself available for shoots in August. One of the main highlights of KBC has been the camaraderie between Bachchan and the participants. They normally engage in banter, and sometimes contestants ask the legendary actor for a hug or an autograph. Instead of his signature warm handshake to welcome contenders, Bachchan will this year greet them with an ‘elbow bump’.

Going digital

One of the first steps towards putting the show on the floors was to make its selection process completely digital. Everything from registration, examination to the final interview and general knowledge test was done online.

As for the video clips giving an insight into the lives of the participants, they were shot by the participants themselves, with help from KBC’s reality team. The team remotely coordinated with the contestants to shoot the back stories.

Social distancing on the set

In a video, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) KBC’s technical director Arun Sheshkumar said that in order to meet social distancing norms, the show has cut down its key crew of 300 to 175.

“Since the audience is not part of the process, the entire backend team, which is there for the audience, has been put on stand-by,” Sheskumar explained. With the crew members’ health and safety in mind, glass partitions have been set up to separate them, he added.

Now, the KBC set in Film City also has a bigger control room with a glass wall in between. Usually chaotic and packed with crew moving in and out, it will now have strict restrictions. The cafeteria too has a glass partition on every table and the team makes sure not to crowd any place at any given time.

Prior to the pandemic, the set usually had two entry-exit points. These have now been increased to multiple entrances and exits.

KBC is one marquee show for Sony, audiences, and the industry which everyone looks forward to each year. The entire unit hopes it will be an exemplary one and will set the standard for how productions can be successfully and safely done.

(KBC12 started airing from 28 September. It is one of the first reality shows to return to the small screen amidst Covid2019.)

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