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      Volume 10 |Issue 33 | August 26, 2011 |


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TV Watch

The Chance to Win a Million

'Ke Hote Chay Kotipoti?' the Bangla version of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'
is providing Bangladeshi viewers an opportunity to gain knowledge and money.

From July 10, this year, 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' have started appearing in Desh TV under the title 'Ke Hote Chay Kotipoti?' every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 9:45 pm. In 2009, Md Moinul Hossain (Mukul) and Tanzim Ahmed Sajib, of Delta Bay production and distribution, bought the license of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' from UK based 2waytraffic (Sony Pictures Entertainment company). “Sony based in India has the territorial right for three countries— Bangladesh, India and Pakistan— but the language is Hindi. So we started fighting for a Bangla version of the show,” says Delta Bay's Managing Director Mukul.

Initially, Indian Sony feared that they would lose Bangladeshi audience if the show was aired in Bangla. Mukul and his friends, with the help of a lawyer, argued that since Hindi is not our mother-tongue, not everyone in our country watches the Hindi version. Moreover, our television channels are not aired in India. “We had to provide data on a number of educated people, number of viewers of satellite television etcetera. Then after six to eight months, they gave us the permission,” Mukul adds.

The brightness and glamour of the set provides an added attraction.
Celebrity contestants in a special episode to be aired during this Eid. Photos: courtesy

Till now the show has been licensed to more than 100 countries around the world. The intriguing format was invented by David Briggs, Mike Whitehill and Steve Knight and the show was first broadcast in UK's ITV in 1998. The contestant has to answer 15 multiple choice questions correctly in a row starting at 1000 taka level. For each question four choices are given, and before choosing the answer the contestant may decide to quit and keep the amount earned.

For the entire game, the contestant gets three life-lines — 50:50 ( where two wrong answers are omitted), audience poll (where studio audience votes their choice of correct answer through a key-pad), and phone a friend (where the contestant calls a friend and takes help within 30 seconds).

To win a minimum sum, a contestant has to answer at least the first five questions correctly and reach the guaranteed level at 10,000 taka. The prize money doubles from the fifth question onwards. The other guaranteed level comes after answering the tenth question valued at 320,000 taka. When a contestant leaves the game, another is chosen from a pool of ten through a timed question.

Contestants have to go through an extensive selection process to participate in the show. First they register by sending a message from Robi mobile phone to answer a multiple-choice question aired during the show.

Audition for contestants has been taken in three phases for the first season of 'Ke Hote Chay Kotipoti?'. “The telephone numbers, from which the sms comes, get registered in a computer system. The number is registered as many times as the person sends the sms. When the registration line is closed, the computer system uses the licensor's software to select numbers randomly. In every audition phase, they have given us 12000 numbers,” Mukul explains.

The telephone number owners are then contacted and they have to answer three questions and provide complete personal details. “Among the three questions, two are general knowledge and one is a guessing type,” informs Mukul. The third question is used to assess the inference skill of the responder because the questions in the show are often totally out of the participants' knowledge and s/he needs to apply logical reasoning to find the correct answer.

During this screening phase other X-factors like communication skill is checked and 1200 participants are selected. “Then the actual audition takes place, where the participant has to complete a eight-page long registration form. A detailed life story including likes, dislikes, good and bad experiences, dreams, wildest fantasy if s/he wins the jackpot— whatever information is needed to understand a whole human being — is taken,” he adds.

Then a video interview of the participant is taken to assess his/her camera appearance, presentability, confidence and communication skill. The participant then takes a 15-minute written test answering 15 multiple-choice questions, which are usually tougher than the show. “Since it is a talent show, we give the MCQ priority and then video audition. The highest scorers get the opportunity to participate in the show,” states Mukul.

A thirty-member team from electronic and print media and research field have developed the question bank which according to format must have at least 60 percent local questions. “First question generators produce questions, then content editor edits them and then links to the questions are checked by a group. Each question needs three valid official references,” informs Mukul. The question then goes to the question head for approval and finally to the question supervisor who checks the framing to make the question understandable and presentable, he adds.

Before putting the questions into the computer system, the level of the questions and their value for money is decided. Computer then randomises and selects the questions during the show. The used questions are automatically removed from the system.

For some participants 'Ke Hote Chai Kotipati?' is more than just a game show. It is a means for rejuvenating life. Muhibul Islam, a government official, whose eight-year old daughter Atkia Fariha is suffering from a rare infancy disease Blood Hemangioma (a benign self-involving tumour of cells that line the blood vessels), has participated in the show to raise money for her daughter's much needed surgery.

On the other hand, Muhammad Ali, an honours fourth year student from Azizul Haq College Bogra, wants to spend his prize 640,000 taka for daily expenses. Being the eldest son of a carpenter, Ali wants to help his father bear his and his three siblings' educational expenses. “I shall use part of the money to build a house in our hometown in Chapainawabganj,” says Ali, who has come to Dhaka for the first time in his life to take part in the show.

Meeting the popular “Baker bhai” famed Asaduzzaman Noor is another dream come true for many participants. Interestingly, in Noor's opinion, his appearance as host of 'Ke Hote Chai Kotipati?'has happened by chance. “Since people are used to watching Amitabh Bachchan, a person from performing art will be compared directly to Amitabh. But a person from a different field perhaps will not be compared. So we thought of Anisul Haq,” relates Noor.

Unfortunately, two-weeks before the recording, Anisul Haq developed a medical problem. “According to the agreement with our licensor, we had to complete airing by October. So it was not possible to postpone the show at that point,” says Noor. For over a year, Haq has been trained and familiarised with the programme specific technicalities and Noor being the only other celebrity to accompany him became the obvious choice.

“When I first started rehearsal, I felt that I shall be myself as a presenter. But as days passed, I started discovering that it is completely another character. Just like I play a role in a drama, I am playing a role here. The character is not me. It is the presenter of Ke Hote Chay Kotipoti?,” asserts Noor.

With the highest television rating in Bangladesh, 'Ke Hote Chay Kotipoti' is providing viewers not only with a programme of international standards, but also motivating young viewers to develop general knowledge, opines Noor. He hopes that this show will also encourage other channels to improve the quality of reality shows and induce good taste among viewers.

This week, recording of the last episode of the first season of 'Ke Hote Chay Kotipoti?' has been completed. Already 21 episodes have been aired and the episodes with celebrity participants will be aired during Eid. The highest prize won so far is 1250, 000 taka but to know whether anyone has hit the jackpot, viewers will have to keep watching the show.



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