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KBC’s southern avatars make a big splash

The show was launched on 27th February in Tamil, 12th March in Kannada and the next launched is scheduled on 9th April in Malayalam

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | March 15, 2012

On the night of 12th March, Kannadada Kotiyadipathi, the Kannada version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, one of the world’s most successful formats, better known in India by its Hindi avatar, Kaun Banega Crorepati, went on air on Suvarna TV. With rare enthusiasm, public screens and community TV sets were put out in several parts of Karnataka for community viewing, to watch Namma Appu (our Appu),  Puneeth Rajkumar, the much loved superstar of Kannada cinema with an uninterrupted run of blockbuster hits under his belt, host this life changing knowledge game. A spectacular opening dance, fusing performances of Yakshagana, Bharatnatyam, Dollu Kunnitha and contemporary dance, leading to  the Kuvempu song Jaya Bharata jananiya..jaya he Karnataka maate” sung by Puneeth, ushered in the show with contestants from far flung parts of the state, up and down the social pyramid. The first contestant to earn a shot at the hot seat was Rakesh Uppar, the brilliant son of a railway coolie, who sought to buttress his modest scholarship and lighten the debts of his parents through the contest. There were tears at his story of trials and tribulations, joy at his achievements, and sheer celebration as he answered challenging questions to notch up winnings of 6 lakhs and 40 thousand in the opening episode. The show will be airing Mondays to Thursdays over the next few months.

The Kannada version of the show follows hard on the heels of the Tamil one on Vijay TV, Neengallum Vellalam Oru Kodi, hosted by the powerhouse performer Suriya, the original superstar of megahits such as Singham and Ghajini. As in Karnataka, contestants have been selected on the basis of successive stages of registration, testing and casting, which drew a tremendous response. In Kerala alone, the first call for entries on the dominant channel in the state, Asianet, drew a response of 45 lakh entries, on par with the Hindi version of the show.  The Malayalam version Ningalkum Aagam Koteeswaran, will be hosted by ‘Commissioner’ Suresh Gopi, redoubtable star and National Award Winning Actor,

Having produced more than 500 shows of the format in Hindi, and 100 in the eastern region, in Bangla and Bhojpuri, BIG Synergy, the hitherto predominantly Mumbai and Delhi based production house is making a determined bid to expand the scope and reach of shows in the regional space. They have licensed the shows for western and eastern India, and are producing the 3 southern versions in close collaboration with the Star network channels. According to Siddhartha Basu, CMD, BIG Synergy, “ The small screen is now geared to become much bigger in the south. Regional TV is clearly the next frontier, where major growth is happening. This show has proved to be a game-changer not only in India, but in almost every part of the world. With excellent collaboration with the Star channels - Asianet, Suvarna, and Vijay, we’re delighted to bring this phenomenal global success to the people of Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Kerala, in their mother tongue, with content and a heartbeat that is completely local. The response to the calls for entry has been huge, the scale of production and participation is possibly the biggest seen so far in the southern region, and the production values are world class. I sincerely hope viewers will enjoy the show as a thrilling knowledge game with terrific human drama.”

With the southern versions of Millionaire, for the first time, film megastars of the region have entered the television space as hosts, and the commitment and excitement of being a part of a landmark show can be measured in their own words -

Suriya says “Being on the sets of NVOK feels like being a student in a university ably governed by HOD Siddhartha Basu. Everyday with the Vijay and Synergy team on the show is a learning, every moment a discovery and to sit back and watch how the show is put together is a lesson in itself, no HR school could ever teach. Siddhartha Basu’s motivation and his hands-on-approach instructions gave me the confidence and knowledge to take up this amazing game show. I am so happy I did it because I realised the show is not about money it’s about people.”

Suresh Gopi says, “Expecting and hoping that Ningalkkum Aagaam Kodeeswaran would be really very big in Kerala. NAK is going to be a big hope for the Kerala contestants. It was really enriching and rewarding experience to get trained under Siddhartha Basu, with support from the Big Synergy and Asianet team to get into this new role, as a Host for the No. 1 game show in the World. Looking forward to a great season ahead.”

Puneeth Rajkumar says, “I am excited about being the anchor of this show which gives me an opportunity to interact closely with the common people. It gives me immense pleasure to be part of the Suvarna family. The format of the show is unique as this gives the common people an opportunity to use their knowledge and change their lives”. Siddhartha Basu is a veteran quiz master and I have learnt a lot about the show and the format from him & his Big Synergy team”, he added

The Star channels have spared no expense or effort in mounting, marketing and promoting the show with a 360 degrees approach. The excitement on the show in Tamil can be gauged by the words of K. Sriram, General Manager of Star Vijay, “Who wants to be a Millionaire is the format which has fascinated people across the globe and what better than KBC ,the real deal to change the landscape of Tamil Nadu. The first meeting with BIG Synergy made us realise that this is the game changer for us and the confidence that we had in the team led by Siddhartha was immense. By far, the most professional set of people who we have teamed up with, their attention to detail and work ethics are impressive to say the least. If BIG things could happen in the North of the Vindhyas, then bigger things are destined to happen in the South, is the confidence that we take into the show with Suriya & BIG Synergy”

John Brittas, Business Head of Asianet says “Asianet, the largest media platform in Kerala is extremely delighted and honoured to associate with BIG SYNERGY to bring the biggest show in the world to the discerning viewers. We are sure that ‘NINGALAKKUM AAKAM KODEESWARAN’, the Malayalam version of KBC, being produced by BIG SYNERGY will change the media-scape of Kerala. We hope to strengthen the relationship with Siddhartha Basu and his enlightened team in the coming days”. Business Head of Suvarna Anup Chandrasekharan says "The Star Network along with Big Synergy originally brought in KBC to India and made it the most popular reality show in the country.  We at Suvarna are extremely confident of the capabilities of the Big Synergy team to recreate the magic in the Kannada Television space. We have the best ingredients to make Kannadada Kotiyadipati a successful show - it is a great concept, power star as anchor, and one of the best production houses to execute it."

The show was launched on 27th February in Tamil, 12th March in Kannada and the next launched is scheduled on 9th April in Malayalam.

With another Bangla production of an international format going under production, BIG Synergy looks forward to expanding the scope and scale of its operations into regional TV, and growing the range and  reach of shows in these strongly developing markets.

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