Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SRK Rocks as KBC Host

“King to sirf main hi hoon,” echoed SRK in his characteristic style as a contestant struggled to answer a question. The audience poll followed and the right answer was ‘queen’ for the game of carom. Hmmm…The verdict is loud-n-clear. King Khan has dissipated humungous speculation about his take-over as the host of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. And yes, not only is he a charming new dost-cum-host, the irrepressible Khan is one up on Amitabh Bachchan because of his wonderful camaraderie with the contestants, ready wit, great sense of humour (many a time at his own expense) and his gamble of being drastically different from Big B, works big time too. And Computerji has now become Compaq da, Compaq Guru or Mr Computer….And for Lock Kiya Jaye…Just look for ‘Freeze Kar Den’…The New KBC is hip, happening and fun…

At the stroke of nine yesterday, SRK kick-started this edition of KBC with a rap-pop number where he said tongue-in-cheek: ‘Mere Angne Mein Tumhara Kya Kaam Hai’.

The song tries to be cool but the tune could have been better. At the outset itself, he makes it clear that he would be speaking in a language that people are more familiar with thus thwarting the Shudh Hindi of its predecessor. SRK starts off question-baazi with the rollover contestant of KBC 2, Prasanjit Sarkar from Kolkata. He gelled with his wife, dished out a Bengali poem, wrote a check for him and also said that “I am so used to signing autographs that I was about to write Luv-Shahrukh….My wife is a strong woman, she doesn’t allow me to do things like writing cheques….”

For first fifteen minutes or so it seemed as if SRK is trying a bit too hard. But then he grew in confidence. “Don’t say I want to quit, just say….Shahrukh I want to hug you….Main aapko gale lagana chahta hoon…..” And the hug was warm. Genuine-n-prompt! And in this first big opportunity of getting to know the real India after his stardom, the Badshah’s interaction was live wire. It was as if he knew Rama Gugila from Khammam (the next contestant) for ages. “Can I call you Gugy….or is Gugs more cool….what do you say man…”

When the comparisons between new and old ‘Don’ happened a few months ago, SRK overwhelmingly came a close second to Amitabh Bachchan’s earlier avatar. Somewhat similar results were expected in KBC too. But no….a cool SRK outsmarts a gentlemanly Senior Citizen Mr Bachchan. If the first episode is anything to go by, then Shahrukh Khan’s brand value is going to skyrocket as KBC gains more episode strengths. For the time being….You can “Freeze That”.

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