Submitted by admin on Mon, 07/17/2017 - 12:07

Adman, writer and director Nitesh Tiwari of the Dangal fame talks about his association with the cult quiz show, Kaun Banega Crorepati which released the ad campaign for its ninth season this week


By Neeta Nair

Season 9 of the cult quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati is all set to begin in August, and the number of registrations has already crossed 1.98 crore, breaking all previous records. As the first TV campaign for KBC Season 9 hits the small screen, we chat with adman, writer and director Nitesh Tiwari – basking in the glory of his highly successful film Dangal - who has been associated with KBC campaigns for six seasons in a row, earlier as part of the creative team at Leo Burnett.

Q] How difficult is it to come up with an innovative theme year on year for the same quiz show?

When Danish Khan from Sony met me for the campaign, two things were clear - that the theme has to have the same DNA as the past five seasons after the show moved from Star to Sony; and there needs to be humour in the ad and a socially relevant theme pertinent to KBC as well. This year we have come up with ‘Jawab dene ka samay aa gaya hai’, which sounds like a fresh theme, but to be honest it stems from what we have already done in the past, that reflects in ‘Koi bhi insaan chota nahi hota’, and ‘Gyan hi aapko aapka haq dilaa sakta hai’.

Q] What stands out in the latest campaign?

The big deviation is that we are not showing the protagonist going to the ‘hot seat’ and winning. It was becoming very obvious, so we wanted to do something different this time. KBC does not discriminate on the basis of looks or bank balance and only respects you for the answer that you are able to give. That makes it a great leveller and thus ‘Jawab dene ka samay aa gaya hai’. So people know their time will come and they will be able to get back to those who ask humiliating questions.

Q] This is the first year when you are not working on this campaign as part of Leo Burnett, which handled KBC creative duties for the past five seasons.

Last year was the first time I directed the film (Hindu-Muslim and Kohima ad) and was not just a part of the writing team for the campaign. But I was associated with Leo Burnett then too. This year, I am doing it independently. Ethics would not have permitted me to work on it if Leo Burnett was the agency team on this campaign, but Sony has discontinued its association with Leo Burnett for the last 6-7 months. So, there was no moral pressure on me not to work on this.

Q] How challenging was it for you not to have an agency backing and work independently on the same campaign?

Nothing changes for me. This year too, I have worked with Nikhil Mehrotra who has in the past written the KBC campaigns with me. While working for Leo Burnett I used to keep the KBC briefs open - the entire team was put to work on it and we would go ahead with whoever got the best idea. KBC campaigns over the years have been written by at least six writers. I am perhaps the seventh one.

Q] In these six years, was there any theme that was close to your heart but was shot down?

Nothing was ever shot down, it was always kept for the following year. But one theme which has been consistently kept for later every year was ‘When was the last time you prayed for a stranger’. Perhaps we will actually make it next year.

Q] Which is your favourite KBC ad so far and what’s the story behind it?

The one closest to my heart is ‘Mubarak ho, ladki hui hain’. My wife Ashwini Iyer Tiwari and her team came up with the idea. I couldn’t go for the shoot of this ad and the first time I saw the video, I was moved.

Q] What is your equation with Amitabh Bachchan after working with him on ‘Bhootnath Returns’ and on six KBC commercials?

There is always pressure and pleasure for me to work with Mr Bachchan. He always treats you with respect and love. When we were doing the first campaign for KBC, my wife was heavily pregnant. She used to report to me at Leo Burnett. When we entered Mr Bachchan’s vanity van to brief him on the ad, he saw my wife and immediately got up from his seat and made her sit down. He told her, ‘Deviji, I will do whatever you ask me to, just don’t take any tension’. This year, he kept pulling my leg throughout the shoot saying ‘Nitesh is going to settle abroad’. I didn’t quite get it. When I asked him, he replied in jest that Dangal is getting good response in China and making potloads of money, so he thinks I may want to settle there now!



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