Contestant Wins $1 Million Jackpot on Indian 'Slumdog Millionaire' TV Show

Sony Entertainment Television India

Sushil Kumar becomes first contestant in the show's history to bag the titular jackpot.

NEW DELHI – The fifth season of the Hindi version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Kaun Banega Crorepati) saw history made with contestant Sushil Kumar winning the 50 million rupees ($1 million) jackpot.

Hosted by Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, the ongoing season airs on Sony Entertainment Television's flagship Hindi channel. Kumar comes from a small town in Bihar state in eastern India, where he works for a government agency earning a meager 6,000 rupees every six months as a computer data entry operator. He becomes the first contestant to win the $1 million jackpot since the show upped its prize from 10 million rupees two seasons ago.

In 2000, during KBC's second season – which at the time aired on Star India's Star Plus channel – the show saw its first winner in Harshvardhan Nawathe, who won the 10 million-rupee jackpot.

“It feels like a dream  for someone who hasn’t seen anything beyond a couple of thousand rupees as his salary,” said Kumar, who plans to use his winnings to study further and buy a house for his extended family. “Maybe I’ll believe this when I actually watch the episode with my family on TV,” he added.

The episode featuring his win will air on Nov. 2.

“This is what the common man is all about. This is what KBC is all about -- given an opportunity, the common man has the strength, the ability and the acumen to prove to the world that he is the best and second to none,” the 69-year-old Bachchan wrote on his popular blog.

“The entire place just exploded. The family of Sushil Kumar, the contestant, not prone to any kind of public jubilation, ran on to the floor of the set in uncontrollable joy and screams and tears of happiness, whilst the live audience were whooping it up on their feet with the loudest scream I have ever heard in this 11-year association with KBC,” added Bachchan.