28 Oct 2011

Real life ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ to spend money on library

A government clerk becomes the first person to win the big prize on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and plans to spend his winnings on building a library in his home town.

Real life 'slumdog millionaire' wins $1m (reuters)

Sushil Kumar was earning the equivalent of £75 a month while working as a computer operator and private tutor in the Indian state of Bihar when he won the million dollar prize.

Comparisons were immediately made between Mr Kumar’s story and the plot of the rags-to-riches 2008 blockbuster film, Slumdog Millionaire, in which a street urchin and call-centre tea boy completes the game show and wins the biggest prize possible.

The newly-wed 27-year-old answered all questions correctly on the popular TV show and cried as he accepted his cheque from Bollywood legend and host, Amitabh Bachchan, who said: “You have created history. Your grit and determination has made you come so far in this show.”

Close finish

Just before the 13th question, Mr Kumar considered walking away with $200,000, but decided to take the option to look at the question first.

He explained: “When I looked at the question, I didn’t think I knew the answer but I kept staring at it for a long time and suddenly I knew that two of the four options were definitely not correct.” He was then able to use his last “lifeline” which allowed him to offer two possible answers.

He did not have a television set. He used to watch someone else’s TV set. From there, his knowledge and education got fired. Amitabh Bachchan

The show’s organisers have not revealed the final question before the show is aired next week, but hinted that it is to do with history.

Speaking to the India Times, Mr Kumar said he had been an avid fan of the ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) since he was 11 and that he built up his knowledge by reading magazines and newspapers.

Asked about his reaction to the win, he said: “I was so excited that I started shouting and my happiness knew no bounds. In fact I was so overwhelmed at that moment that I can’t clearly remember what I did”.

Future plans

Mr Kumar told the show host that he would use the money to pay for a civil service course and exams. He told reporters immediately after winning, that he plans to open a library in his home town of Motihari in Bihar, and will help his family by buying a house for his wife and giving his four brothers money to set up small businesses.

Bachchan, the host, said: “He did not have a television set. He used to watch ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ on someone else’s TV set. From there, his knowledge and education got fired and today, he has won the maximum reward in the game – 5 crore rupees ($ 1 million).”