‘Karamveer' Dr. Sunil Shroff bats for organ donation on the 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' show
The 9th of October 2020 marked a new high for organ donation in the country when a show called ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (KBC) hosted by the biggest celebrity of Bollywood, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan decided to promote the cause through MOHAN Foundation. They invited me as the managing trustee of the foundation to be the ‘Karamveer’ (One performing a noble task) on the show along with actor Riteish Deshmukh as the champion of the cause. Both Riteish and his wife Genelia had recently pledged to donate their organs. For over 20 years KBC has been hosted by Mr. Bachchan and undoubtedly has huge popularity both in India and among the Indian diaspora. KBC’s reach in the Hindi belt is large and estimates are that it covers over 14 million viewers and the team from ‘Sony Entertainment Television’ had hoped that the audience would be larger as this show was selected as a special event on the eve of Mr. Bachchan’s birthday. Before the show I met both Mr. Bachchan and Riteish. Mr. Bachchan had got COVID in July-August, but he looked healthy and throughout the shooting that lasted for almost five hours with three very short breaks, I must say I did not notice any drop in his energy levels and zest during the show. Riteish too had told me that his whole family except himself had come down with COVID but he thanked the Almighty that they had all recovered. What really impressed me about Riteish was his commitment to the cause. He said to me that he and Genelia followed a strict plant-based vegetarian diet to ensure that their organs would remain healthy when it came to actual organ donation.
Once the shooting started, we covered almost everything about deceased donation and transplantation, however post editing what appeared on the show was perhaps twenty percent of what had transpired. During the conversation about the organ donation programme in the country we discussed the shortage of organs, problems faced by MOHAN Foundation as an NGO in promoting the cause, the reason for its success, and what the future would entail. We often became so engrossed in the conversation that we would forget that we were there also to play the game and answer general knowledge questions on a variety of subjects. The questions that came up from ‘Computerji’ did give us a quite a few nervous moments, however with some recollection, clever guesses, using the lifelines and with ultimately also some luck we managed to reach the INR 25 lakh mark, before the hooter came on to announce the end of the show.
Post KBC, the MOHAN Foundation team was prepared to take calls related to organ donation and organ pledging on the Toll Free Helpline (18001037100) and had in advance ensured that were 20 tele-callers round the clock. There were a total of 2421 calls in October and the barrage of e-mails continues to challenge our servers. We hope that the programme has created much-needed awareness about the organ donation cause at least in the Hindi belt of the country.
MOHAN Foundation has worked relentlessly to promote this noble cause for the last 24 years and has helped create the belief in the country that deceased donation is possible in India. Through constant awareness programmes and capacity building in areas where there are gaps and which require support and strengthening it has helped changed the course of deceased donation with the help of various stakeholders from both public and private sector including the state and central government. We hope that KBC can become a turning point as far as awareness is concerned and will help increase the organ donation rate in the country. If you wish to read more about this experience with KBC please visit my blog at https://blog.mohanfoundation.org/being-a-karamveer-on-amitabhbachchans-show-kaun-banega-crorepati/
- Copyright © 2021. Published by MOHAN Foundation
- Keywords: Karamveer, Dr. Sunil Shroff, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), 'Karamveer' Dr. Sunil Shroff, actor Riteish Deshmukh, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, plant-based vegetarian diet, organ pledging on the Toll-Free Helpline