[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2006, 19:22 GMT
India scraps millionaire TV show
Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan is a legend in Indian cinema
One of India's most popular game shows is being dropped after weeks of waiting for its host, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, to recover from ill-health.

The 63-year-old actor spent three weeks in hospital in Mumbai (Bombay) in December after abdominal surgery.

Mr Bachchan failed to return to work after a month's rest to film Kaun Banega Crorepati, modelled on the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

Mr Bachchan has acted in more than 150 Indian films, over a 40-year period.

An official at Rupert Murdoch's Star TV, the channel that produces the game show, told the BBC website Mr Bachchan had shot 61 of the 85 episodes when he fell ill.

There were enough new programmes to keep the show on air until January, but when Mr Bachchan's health prevented him filming the remaining 24, Star TV took the decision to axe it, the spokesman said.

Amitabh Bachchan is taken on a stretcher to the Leelavati hospital in Mumbai
Mr Bachchan's condition was caused by inflammation of the colon
The shows organisers asked Mr Bachchan's son, Abhishek, to step in but he declined, citing "prior committments".

Abhishek Bachchan is also a popular Bollywood actor who played the lead role in last year's hit film, Bunty Aur Babli (Bunty and Babli).

Mr Bachchan's illness has delayed entertainment projects worth 55bn rupees (0.69bn), the Hindustan Times newspaper reported.


Kaun Banega Crorepati was launched in 2000 and became one of the most watched shows on Indian television, typically attracting 15 million viewers.

The show's popularity was due in part to Mr Bachchan, who enjoys mass appeal in India.

Marketing executive Jabir Merchant said he will miss watching the host.

"I only watched it for Amitabh. If he is not anchoring, I'd rather they take it off air than get someone else to do it," he said.

Suniti Kanodia, a fan of the show, said it was fun because of Mr Bachchan.

"Even if they had got his son to anchor it, I seriously doubt it would have worked," she said.

Amitabh Bachchan: The comeback man
01 Dec 05 |  South Asia
Star calls on Bollywood to unite
14 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Bollywood star gets film festival
07 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Bollywood star eyes up Hollywood
16 Mar 04 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific