Slumdog Millionaire turned into reality TV by jackpot win

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The Independent Online

Life imitated art for a lowly Indian government clerk as he became the first jackpot winner on his country's version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Sushil Kumar's staggering 50 million rupee (£634,000) triumph on the game show has transformed him into a role model for millions of aspiring young people yearning to escape from lives of poverty and find a role in India's burgeoning economy.

It echoes the plot of the 2008 Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, whose impoverished protagonist landed the programme's grand prize.

Before Mr Kumar, 26, went on the show – which was taped on Tuesday and will be screened next week – he earned £75 a month as an office worker and supplemented his income by working as a private tutor in the small town of Motihari in the eastern state of Bihar.

He now plans to buy a new home for Seema, his wife of four months, pay off his parents' debts, and give his four brothers enough money to start their own businesses.

He and Seema wept when Indian movie legend Amitabh Bachchan, the show's host, handed them a cheque for his winnings. "You have created history," Bachchan said. "Your grit and determination has made you come so far in this show." Mr Kumar said: "We're happy, of course, but mostly we're just really stunned."