From glass walls, elbow 'hi' to separate entry-exit points, how Big B is shooting 'KBC' amid Covid-19

One of the highlights of the show has been camaraderie between Big B & contestants.

Agencies
Bachchan wears his outfits only after they are sanitised.
MUMBAI: The coronavirus pandemic has thwarted many projects, but megastar Amitabh Bachchan and the team of the show "Kaun Banega Crorepati" (KBC) knew they would make it happen: with double the precautions and spirit.

Shortly after recovering from COVID-19, Bachchan, 77, started filming the 12th season of the popular game show in August.

To adapt to the social distancing norms, the "KBC" set and the show's format underwent an overall change.


According to showrunner Sujata Sanghamitra, for the first time in 20 years, the show is hosting no live audience and hence, the lifeline 'audience poll' has been replaced by video-a-friend to align with how "the country is looking at each other through screens now".

"The set designing changed as we have only eight fastest finger first contestants, reduced from the usual 10 so that social distancing is maintained.

"We have companions of the contestants, but they are also seated far apart. The design of the hot seat and the contestants chair have also changed, there's more gap now," Sanghamitra told PTI.
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One of the highlights of the show has been the camaraderie between Bachchan and the contestants, who often ask for a hug or a handshake from the screen icon.

Even though the shooting guidelines demand minimal physical contact, the team has come up with an alternative for not letting social distancing norms affect the content.

"The contestants won't be able to hug him, but Bachchan sir will be doing an 'elbow hi'. The conversations remain the same. Physical distance hasn't disturbed the content," the showrunner said.

The "KBC" set in the Film City here now has a bigger control room with partitions in between. The cafeteria too has a glass partition on every table and the team ensures that at no point is any place crowded.
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Bachchan's teleprompter room, where he reads the script, has a glass wall, with the actor on one side and the scriptwriter on the other.

Prior to the pandemic, the set would have two entry-exit points, which have now been increased to four-five.
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There is a separate entry and exit point for Bachchan and the contestants. Even the crew steers clear of these areas.

"There are sanitisation tunnels, doctors who check temperatures and oxygen levels, and a database of everyone on the set is maintained. A heavy load of sanitisation happens at least four-five times a day.

"A team sanitises the set during every break. We even have a set monitor to keep a check on how people are wearing the masks," Arunshesh Kumar, "KBC" technical director, told PTI.

To meet social distancing norms, the show has cut down its key crew of 300 to 175.

"Now, if the audience is not part of the process, the whole backend team, which is there for the audience, is currently on stand-by. Because of social distancing norms, most carry food from home.

"Though we have a pantry and a caterer, the number of people who eat there is less. Those are the departments where we tried to control the manpower," Kumar added.

While Bachchan blogged about his experience of visiting a set for the first time since the coronavirus-induced lockdown in March forced shut film and TV shoots, the show was a result of months of brainstorming.

Kumar said the team started planning the latest season around first week of March but hit a roadblock once the lockdown was announced.

Between April-June, the team had four plans, including taking "KBC" completely digital.

"An international season of the show had the host and audience from their homes. They did it via a video app. That was also in the planning, but thankfully as things progressed, even the government allowed shoots to start," he said.

One of the first steps towards putting the show on floors was to make its selection process completely digital. From application, examination to the final interview, everything was done through Internet.

The process of getting the selected contestants to Mumbai started much in advance, with them taking the COVID-19 test twice.

"They do a COVID-19 test before they leave for Mumbai, by the time they reach, we have their reports. They are then isolated and quarantined in a hotel.

"They go through one more round of COVID-19 tests and only if they pass that, are they allowed to come on sets. They have zero physical interactions with the crew or amongst each other," Kumar said.

The cautious approach also extends to Bachchan's styling on the show. While the fabric of the actor's outfits earlier used to be imported from Italy and stitched in the city, things are now different.

"So whatever is existing in India, in the stock, that's safe for us because it cuts transition time and its handling through multiple people," Priya Patil, Bachchan's stylist, told PTI.

The stylist, who has been a part of "KBC" for nearly five years, said costumes too now take a longer time to get stitched because many artisans, who went back to their native villages because of the lockdown, have not returned.

"The manpower has gone down. If it took a day to make something, it now takes two."

Patil said Bachchan wears his outfits only after they are sanitised.

"When the fabrics come in, I design everything. Once it's ready, everything is sanitised and only then sir wears it. No one touches them. On set, I wear a PPE kit and there's only one other person from my team on the floor with me," Patil said.

While many had believed that Bachchan's COVID-19 diagnosis in July would delay the show, Sanghamitra said the actor was more than willing to resume the shoot after his recovery.

"He wasn't hesitant at all. When I was making the schedule, I was hesitant to call him because he had just come back from the hospital. But he called me asking about the rehearsals. He has been extremely cool about it."

"KBC" is set to air from Monday on Sony TV.

The Weekend That Was: Bachchans, Anupam Kher Family Under Covid Cloud; All’s Well, Says Hema, And Riddhima (About Ranbir)
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On Saturday night, just when the country was about to go to sleep, the news of the country's biggest superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, testing positive for coronavirus broke, sending shockwaves around the nation. In the hours that followed, more members of the Bachchan family tested positive for Covid-19 and Anupam Kher’s family, too, was hit by the corona-crisis.

On Sunday morning, the country woke up to rumours of Hema Malini and the Kapoor family testing positive for Covid-19. Here’s a detailed rundown of what transpired over the weekend - who tested positive and who didn’t.

On Saturday night, just when the country was about to go to sleep, the news of the country's biggest superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, testing positive for coronavirus broke, sending shockwaves around the..
Read More

Senior Bachchan is known to have dealt with health complications before and even fought a close battle with death after a life-threatening accident on the sets of his film ‘Coolie’ in 1982. However, when the news about the thespian testing positive for deadly Covid-19 broke, the entire country collectively prayed for his health and speedy recovery.

The who’s who of B-Town, sports fraternity and India Inc sent best wishes for the actor. The Big B, on Sunday night, took to social media to thank all those who prayed for his good health. “To them that have expressed their concern, their prayers and their wishes for Abhishek, Aishwarya, Aaradhya and me .. my unending gratitude and love,” wrote the megastar.

Senior Bachchan is known to have dealt with health complications before and even fought a close battle with death after a life-threatening accident on the sets of his film ‘Coolie’ in 1982. However, ..
Read More

Only an hour after the news of Senior Bachchan testing positive broke, Abhishek Bachchan sent out a tweet from his Twitter account confirming that he, too, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In his tweet, Abhishek wrote that the local civic authorities have been informed and that their family and staff are also being tested for Covid-19.

Asking everyone to stay calm and not panic, Abhishek wrote, “The BMC has been in touch and we are complying with them.” Last week, Abhishek had been busy with the promotions of his upcoming Amazon Prime original ‘Breathe: Into The Shadows’. Abhishek’s co-star from the webseries, Amit Sadh, had tested negative for Covid-19.



Only an hour after the news of Senior Bachchan testing positive broke, Abhishek Bachchan sent out a tweet from his Twitter account confirming that he, too, has tested positive for the novel coronavir..
Read More

On Sunday, a day after the Big B and Abhishek tested positive, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter Aaradhya, also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope took to Twitter to break the news which was confirmed by Abhishek via a tweet.

“Aishwarya and Aaradhya have also tested COVID-19 positive,” wrote Abhishek in his tweet. The rest of the family, including Jaya Bachchan and Shweta Bachchan Nanda had tested negative. Abhishek announced on Twitter that both Aishwarya and Aaradhya will be self-quarantining at home.

On Sunday, a day after the Big B and Abhishek tested positive, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter Aaradhya, also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Top..
Read More

A day after the Bachchans revealed they were corona-positive, actor Anupam Kher confirmed on Sunday that his mother, Dulari, along with brother Raju and his wife have also tested positive for Covid-19.

While Kher's mother is admitted to Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai, his brother's family is quarantining at their home.

Sharing a two-minute-20-second-long video on Twitter, the 65-year-old actor said his mother wasn't able to eat well for the past few days.

"I've informed the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) they're working amazingly, efficiently. They will sanitise my brother's residence," Kher said in a tweet.

A day after the Bachchans revealed they were corona-positive, actor Anupam Kher confirmed on Sunday that his mother, Dulari, along with brother Raju and his wife have also tested positive for Covid-1..
Read More

On Sunday, The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sealed actor Rekha's bungalow in suburban Bandra after a security guard there tested coronavirus positive.The BMC has put a board outside the premises declaring the place as a containment area.

The security guard has been hospitalised at the BMC's Covid-19 care facility in Bandra Kurla Complex.

On Sunday, The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sealed actor Rekha's bungalow in suburban Bandra after a security guard there tested coronavirus positive.The BMC has put a board outside the p..
Read More

On Sunday, social media was abuzz with rumours that Hema Malini had been rushed to the hospital due to poor health.

However, daughter Esha Deol was quick to quash the rumours on social media. "My mother @dreamgirlhema is fit & fine! The news regarding her health is absolutely fake so please don't react to such rumours!" she tweeted.

"Thanks to everyone for their love and concern," the actor-author added.

On Sunday, social media was abuzz with rumours that Hema Malini had been rushed to the hospital due to poor health.However, daughter Esha Deol was quick to quash the rumours on social media. "My moth..
Read More

On Sunday, rumour mills seemed to be working overtime. Besides Hema Malini, there were also rumours that Ranbir Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor had also tested positive for Covid-19.

Jewellery designer Riddhima Kapoor Sahni took to Instagram on Sunday to confirm that her mother and brother were completely fit. She further slammed the 'attention seekers' and 'lunatics' for spreading fake news.

Riddhima later dismissed the reports, and told news agency PTI, "Obviously not (true). Please stop spreading fake rumours. At least not at this time, would appreciate."

On Sunday, rumour mills seemed to be working overtime. Besides Hema Malini, there were also rumours that Ranbir Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor had also tested positive for Covid-19. Jewellery designer Riddh..
Read More
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