Originated from United Kingdom, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is India most popular TV program

Sizzling competition between two of Bollywood’s greats, Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, appears to have extended into the new year.

Amitabh Bachchan, the 64-year-old renowned actor who has just been voted Indian of the Year by The Time of India is the “Big Brother” in the Hindi film industry. He is nicknamed “Big B” in the industry.

Bachchan has hosted the nation’s most popular TV program, the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Kaun Banega Crorepati) since the program started in 2000. No programme on Indian TV has been as popular as this show.

When Bachchan decided he no longer wanted to host the show (After an enforced break from work caused by stomach surgery), Star TV executives has decided to get a younger star who would give the show a face-lift. And Shah Rukh Khan (King Khan) was thence announced by the organizer, Star Entertainment, as the replacement of Amitabh Bachchan. The announcement has received front-page coverage and editorial analysis – hinting at the passing of an era and a king.

An obvious long-simmering rivalry has existed between both Khan and Bachchan. It was reported in The Times of India that the Bachchan family was conspicuously absent from a big New Year Eve’s party thrown by Khan at his Mumbai home. Other artistes and stars such as Slamn Khan, Vivek Oberoi and Preity Zinta have attended the party.

Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan are two successful megastars in Bollywood. While the fortunes of most of their Bollywood peers wax and wane according to their latest films, these two have an enduring appeal impervious to their occasional flops.

Both Bachchan and Khan endorse a vast and bizarrely diverse, array of products. Last year, Bachchan advertised everything from Pepsi to washing powder, earning an estimated 190 million rupees in the process. How about Khan? Khan’s list of endorsements is also growing rapidly, embracing products like mobile phones and instant noodles, and earning approximately 130miilon rupees.

Bachchan and Khan portrait different images to the fans. In 1970s, Bachchan played angry-young man roles when his peers were frustrated at the lack of opportunities by India’s closed economy. Today, he exemplifies a generation of middle class Indians who has worked hard to succeed in a reformed India. Khan’s charm is that of an MTV kid who has become a devoted husband and father.

So, the new face in the nation’s most popular program, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, will continue maintain its popularity? Shah Rukh Khan will give an answer soon.

Veteran Actor, Amitabh Bachchan was voted Indian of the Year 2006!

Shah Rukh Khan, born November 2, 1965, is a prominent Bollywood actor and producer.