Star Television India has scrapped the most popular show in Indian history after weeks of waiting for its famous host Amitabh Bachchan to recover from an illness, a company official said Wednesday. No new episodes of "Kaun Banega Crorepati", based on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", will be shot, said the official on condition of anonymity because she wasn't authorized to talk to reporters. Millions of dollars in advertising sales were tied to the program. Bachchan, 63, spent nearly three weeks in a hospital in Bombay, India's financial and entertainment capital, in December after having surgery for an intestinal ailment. He was expected to resume work after a month's rest.
"Amitabh Bachchan ... has informed us that he will take longer to recover than earlier expected," The Times of India newspaper quoted Samir Nair, chief operating officer of Star TV India, as saying. Nair couldn't be reached immediately for comment.
The show's organizers approached his son, film star Abhishek Bachchan, to step in but he wasn't available. "Abhishek already has prior commitments and his shooting schedule is packed," Nair was quoted as saying.
Amitabh Bachchan has acted in more than 150 Indian movies in a career spanning three decades. He is extremely popular in South Asia, and wherever Bollywood films are watched
Bachahan's hospitalization has delayed entertainment projects worth 55 billion rupees (US$1.3 billion; Ђ1.1 billion), the Hindustan Times newspaper reported. Ongoing projects include five big-budget movies in advanced stages of completion, including "Family," which was partly produced by his company, AB Corp, reports the AP. N.U.