Abhishek's new avatar

Abhishek's new avatar

keep counting ‘National Bingo Night’  is an interactive game show on Sony TV.

An age-old adage says ‘Like father like son.’ Abhishek Bachchan is doing just that through a new show on Colors — ‘Idea National Bingo Night’. However, if the first episode is any indicator of how things are going to be, one feels doubtful whether Abhishek will be able to weave the magic that his beloved Paa did in ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ and ‘Bigg Boss’.

‘National Bingo Night’ is a game, which involves luck where everyone — the contestant, studio audience and television viewers have a chance of winning. A huge sphere full of numbered balls is spun and the ball that comes out of the sphere determines whether you win or lose. It is as simple as that!

As Ashvini Yardi, programming head of Colors says, “The programme is a fun-filled concept which has tasted a lot of success abroad and has now been imported to India to entertain our audiences. What’s unique about ‘National Bingo Night’ is that even television audiences can play the game in real time. Having Abhishek Bachchan hosting this show makes it the perfect ingredient for a fun-filled Saturday evening.” He adds further, “With this show, we plan to add some variety to our weekend programming. You will witness Abhishek in a new endearing avatar.”

The show is an adaptation of a Fox TV show which has been on air in various countries. Adds Nachiket Pantvaidya, managing director, Fox Television Studios India, “With ‘National Bingo Night’, the Indian audience, both in the studio and those watching it on tv, will be exposed to a unique interactive game format that gives them an opportunity to win fantastic prizes without much effort.” Although the show has oodles of glamour, the game itself is not really exciting.

Host Abhishek Bachchan brings his celebrity friends (Shahrukh Khan, Karan Johar, Deepika Padukone, Farhan Akhtar, Pravesh Rana, Vindu Dara Singh, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan, Sonali Bendre, Kirron Kher, Avika Gor and Avinash Mukherjee are the names we know till now) to play Bingo with him, besides singing, dancing and doing everything that stars do when they come on a game show.

The studio audience meanwhile has to predict numbers and match them with the tickets that are handed out to them.  Whoever (the guest, studio audience or the television viewers) wins, gets loads of prize money. Adding to the fun element of the show is television star Ali Asgar, who will be assisting Abhishek to host the programme. Called Ali Baba by Abhishek, he will be the ‘Bingo Buddy’ and keep an eye on the participating audience.

For Abhishek Bachchan, this is the first time he is hosting a programme on television. Ask him what made him do it and he replies, “The sheer simplicity of the idea and the fact that the show is highly interactive is what attracted me to it. Winning here is easy and you need not answer any difficult questions or perform strenuous physical tasks. The idea is simple — leave behind all your worries, relax and enjoy.”
Interestingly, Abhishek is the first star of his generation to host a show on television.

Though Genelia D’souza is currently hosting a show on UTV Bindaas, none of the leading heroes of today’s generation (Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor) have joined their senior brethren in hosting shows on television. From the earlier lot, however, everyone worth his name has appeared on television. Be it Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan or Govinda – no one could ignore the fame, money and reach of Indian television. Whether Abhishek will be able to repeat their success story is something that time will tell.

But, does this make him nervous? “I am at this stage but I look at this as a great opportunity to prove myself as a TV host. I won’t deny that there is a lot of pressure on me. My dad has been the star of this format but I am confident that the audience would love my innings on the small screen.”

And there are definitely going to be comparisons with his dad too. Does he see that as an advantage or a disadvantage? “I am tired of this question. Frankly, if they don’t compare me to him, then whom will they compare me to? Who doesn’t want to be compared to Amitabh Bachchan? His stints on television have always created history and outdoing that is not possible,” he avers.

Adding further he says, “Nobody is going to be a better actor than him. Nobody is going to make a bigger mark than him in Indian and world cinema. I am his son, his biggest fan and want him to be the best. No son would like to compete with his father and I do the same.”

‘National Bingo Night’ will be telecast on Colors every Saturday at 9 PM.

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