“Computerji, lock kar diya jaye?” Eight years ago, when Sushil Kumar said yes to Amitabh Bachchan, he became the first winner of an incredible Rs 5 crore, the first jackpot in the Indian television show Kaun Banega Crorepati. And within minutes, this unassuming MA in history from the sleepy town of Motihari in Bihar became a celebrity, his name splashed across newspapers, his sound bytes played over and over again on TV. Today, his name would hardly ring a bell. But Kumar is content with life away from the spotlight.
“Being a pragmatist, I knew all along that it was always going to be 15 minutes of fame,” Kumar, 31, tells Outlook. “I am from an ordinary family…I realised that those moments had a very short lifespan.” He took home the prize-money of just over Rs 3.5 crore after tax deduction, built a house where 18 members of the extended family stay together. He is the father of a daughter, 5, and a toddler son.