The five crore man

- Shobha De

Sushil Kumar from Bihar has joined the ranks of the ‘most-recognized’ celebrities in India after winning Rs 5 crore on Amitabh Bachchan’s KBC.

Excellent timing (Diwali) and superb marketing have propelled this young man from a life of total obscurity to an entirely different world under the spotlight. So far, Sushil remains delightfully underwhelmed by the attention and the moolah. I happened to share the same flight to Delhi last week, and have to confess I didn’t recognize the non-descript young man who was minding his own business and reading a Hindi newspaper. The story changed as soon as we landed. Several co-passengers gheraoed him, asking for autographs. He posed for pictures and chatted away without the slightest self-consciousness. Someone brought him over for an introduction and he disarmingly stated that since he didn’t speak any English, we’d have to converse in Hindi. He spoke sensibly and sincerely about his win, neither boasting nor underplaying its significance in his life. At the swanky New Delhi terminal, Sushil was once again enthusiastically mobbed by passengers and staff. The last I saw of him, he was in the middle of a large crowd getting photographed on several cell phones. He appeared cool and unfazed by all the attention. This is one true celebrity.

Contrast Sushil’s attitude to that of nobodies parading as celebrities. Especially B- and C-grade Bollywood types who refuse to take their shades off inside the aircraft, and strut up and down the aisle strenuously trying to attract attention. It’s easy to spot these wannabes from a mile away as they collar Page 3 photographers at splashy events and insist on being photographed with the chief guest. If a pesky kid is stupid enough to ask for an autograph, these delusional people display the worst attitude and a basic lack of good manners by playing hard to get, quite forgetting that their 15 minutes of fame was finished years ago. Perhaps a few months from now, not too many people will remember Sushil Kumar (someone else may win Rs 10 crore by then!). But chances are, it won’t matter to this down-to-earth man. He is clear about his objectives and wants to spend his prize money on educating his brothers and continuing his own education.

Married less than six months ago, he smiles shyly when asked what he’d like to gift his wife. For now, Sushil is in a happy space, soberly enjoying his fame and good fortune. He isn’t likely to buy the latest designer shades to hide behind. Nor does one expect him to go for a fancy car. But while his moment of glory lasts, Sushil is all set to enjoy every minute of it! Good luck to the 5 Crore Man!

Source: TOI

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