Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati 12’ in the Time of COVID

This year's season is unlike anything we've seen before.

Hot Take
3 min read

Video Editor: Veeru Mohan

You're not desi unless you've grown up watching Amitabh Bachchan quiz people at 9 PM every night on TV. Dinner + KBC is a common ritual. This year, Kaun Banega Crorepati 12 is back with Amitabh Bachchan as the host, as always (let's just pretend SRK never tried, okay?). The first episode premiered on 28 September.

After 11 seasons, Kaun Banega Crorepati is all about nostalgia and familiarity. Year after year, not much changes but the show is still a reminder of all things pure and hopeful. Except that this year something is drastically different. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, KBC has been shot with social distancing at the heart of things. Watching the first episode of KBC was a reminder of just how different things are. But at least we've got some comforting nostalgia to hold on to, right?



The episode began in the most classic way ever - Amitabh Bachchan's mesmerising baritone and poetry.

Love how Amitabh Bachchan can make you nostalgic for things you might not even have experienced? Hello??


This show has existed for 20 years? WOW. JUST WOW.



Alas, due to COVID-19, this episode felt a little lonely. The audience seats are visibly empty and no amount of lighting can hide that.


Presenting Amitabh Bachchan's slogan for this season - "setback ka jawaab, comeback se do"

Kaafi on brand and topical. I'm impressed.



After Bachchan has mentioned COVID-19 and social distancing a few times, the show goes back to regular programming..

Wait a second.. the designation of one of the participants reads "job aspirant."

Wow, if that doesn't summarise India's economy going south in 2020 then what does.


Within 10 minutes of the show, there's ALREADY a shot of someone dramatically wiping their tears

(This time it's the first participant Aarti's mother)

Glad to say some things haven't changed.



On account of COVID-19 a lot of things are different this time.

There's no audience, Big B can no longer shake hands with the participants or escort them to the seat (oh no!) and also, audience poll has changed to video-a-friend.


Some things that hasn't changed is the familiar tiktok of "Miss Chalpadi" AKA the timer, Computerji and Amitabh Bachchan's grandpa-esque words of encouragement.

So that's good.


Can someone explain to me why *I* feel nervous when the clock tiks for the participant?? I'm not even there!


Raise your hands if you're a millennial/gen Z and struggle with understanding quite a bit of Bachchan's Hindi even in 2020.



One of the questions is about the Bollywood film Dil Bechara. Naturally, Bachchan mentioned Sushant Singh Rajput. And also played the song.


I like how empathetically the pandemic has been incorporated into the show. Bachchan keeps mentioning the precautions being taken. Also, KBC tries to show the impact of the novel coronavirus on the lives of the participant.


This season, Kaun Banega Crorepati has abandoned the old way of handing over a cheque to the participant. Instead, Bachchan transfers money directly to the participant's account on the spot.



Kaun Banega Crorepati is still, in a way, my favourite tuition teacher. You know those little GK breaks Bachchan takes after every question to elaborate on the correct answer? Hands down my favourite part.


Alas Aarti had to go (she made it past the second category though so it's okay!) but the next participant - Sonu from UP - is now on the hotseat and...

There goes the gong!

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