Fifteen years ago when Kaun Banega Crorepati was aired for the first time, it revolutionized the way we watched television. The show, modelled on the UK game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, kept us hooked to the television for an hour everyday and we saw Amitabh Bachchan make an explosive comeback via the small screen. The prize money was huge and every one wanted to try out their luck. It was a new concept for the Indian audience and raised the hopes of the Indian middle class who felt thrilled each time the contestants took the prize money home!
So far, there have been 8 seasons of KBC. Here’s a list of the contestants who won the highest prize money at stake!
1. Harshwardhan Nawathe, 1st Season, ₹ 1 Cr.
Life changed for 27-year-old Harshwardhan Nawathe when he became the first contestant to win ₹ 1 crore in 2000. He was preparing for Indian Civil Services at the time when he got a call for the audition of KBC, and became a mini-celebrity after winning the money. The fame, however, took the focus away from studies and he did not sit for the exam. Later, he went for MBA from a University in UK. Now married with two children, Nawathe presently works with Mahindra & Mahindra.
2. Ravi Mohan Saini, Winner of KBC Junior, ₹ 1 Cr.
Ravi Mohan Saini was only 14 years old when he participated in KBC Junior in 2001, and answered every question correctly, winning ₹ 1 crore. He was a class 10 student at that time when he participated in the show.
The talented boy didn’t stop winning in life. He is all grown up now and serves the country in the capacity of an officer in the Indian Police Service. Well done, Ravi!
3. Rahat Taslim, 4th Season, ₹ 1 Cr.
Coming from a rather conservative family, Rahat Taslim was preparing for her medical entrance examination when she was married off. But being a homemaker was simply not her destiny. When she was selected for the audition of KBC, she was more excited about going back to studies, than the prize money.She won ₹ 1 crore and opened a garment showroom in a mall in Giridih, where she lives. It wasn’t just the money that she won, but also her independence and self-confidence.
4. Sushil Kumar, 5th Season, ₹5 Cr.
Everyone rejoiced at the phenomenal success of Sushil Kumar, a computer operator from Motihari in Bihar, who went on to win ₹ 5 crore on the hot seat, becoming the first contestant in the show’s history to win such a huge sum. Coming from a humble background, Kumar’s win was celebrated by everyone. The money gave him name and fame. But apparently he didn’t invest it wisely.According to the reports, he received a sum of ₹ 3.6 crores after the deduction of taxes. He spent it in building a house, buying farmland in his village, and establishing his kin and family. He is reportedly jobless and struggling for money.
5. Sunmeet Kaur, 6th Season, ₹ 5 Cr.
Sunmeet Kaur’s story is that of hard work and hope. Despite a degree in fashion designing, she was not allowed to pursue a career in designing by her in-laws. But she did not give up on her dreams and started a tiffin service centre. Unfortunately, her business flopped following an accident that left her bed-ridden for six months. Thereafter, she started to take tuitions for children, and the knowledge gained led her to win ₹ 5 crore in KBC.
The last we heard of her was that she had started a fashion house with a friend, of which she is no longer a partner.
6. Taj Mohammed Rangrez, 7th Season, ₹ 1 Cr.
He was the first contestant to win ₹ 1 crore in season 7 of KBC. A history teacher by profession, Taj Mohammed said that people’s perception changed towards him after the victory, who were now calling him crorepati Rangrez. He utilized the money in his daughter’s treatment for partial vision impairment, bought a house and funded the marriage of two orphaned girls.
7. Achin Narula and Sarthak Narula, 8th Season, ₹ 7 Cr.
Theirs has been the biggest victory on the show so far. Marriage proposals started to pour in immediately after the Delhi brothers jointly won a whopping sum of ₹ 7 crore. It was after 10 years of continuous effort to reach the hot seat that the duo got a chance to participate. The brothers used the money for their mother’s cancer treatment and open a business of their own.