MUMBAI (Reuters) - An office worker too poor to own a television set has won an unprecedented $1 million in the Indian version of TV game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
Sushil Kumar’s win this week drew comparisons with the plot of 2008 Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” and, like its fictional protagonist Jamal, the 27-year-old also watched the TV show as an escape from penury.
This is the first time a contestant has won a million dollars on the popular TV show hosted by Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan. The episode will be broadcast next week and Kumar takes home 3.5 crore rupees (about $720,000) after tax.
Kumar, who watched the show at a neighbor’s house because his family was too poor to afford a television set, said he had not made any grand plans for the money, a fortune in a country with a per capita income of $1,265.
“I‘m going to repair my house, fulfill a few basic needs and then move to Delhi to study for the civil service exams,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Kumar works as a computer operator in a government office in the impoverished eastern state of Bihar and earns 6,000 rupees (around $120) per month.
“Our house has almost broken down and we have a lot of loans that have to be repaid,” he said.
“If it hadn’t been for this money, I would have gotten old before I sorted out my life.”
“I’ve been getting a lot of suggestions about what to do with the money, but right now I can only think about my dream of getting through the civil services exam,” he said.
“Slumdog Millionaire,” shot in the teeming slums of Mumbai, tells the story of a young orphan who wins the TV game show against all odds.
Editing by Tony Tharakan; and Louise Ireland