Gold, Gold and More Gold

My brother and sister claim that I’m obsessed with a “unique quiz cum game show” on GeminiTV, an Indian station my parents receive via satellite. Evoking the game show classic “Family Feud” in its setup, “Bangaram Mee Kosam” (the title roughly translates from Telugu as “Gold for You”) has multi-generational families competing against each other to answer questions on general topics and win gold. Even though I’ve only seen it once or twice while visiting my parents or grandmother, my siblings may have a case. The evidence? Exhibit A: After a first viewing, I was so excited that I set the family computer’s screensaver to display the show’s title in giant yellow scrolling text. Exhibit B: More recently, while suffering from a metal deficiency medically referred to as “Bangaram Withdrawal Syndrome,” I wondered aloud if I could download the show online to watch on my computer.

A few of the show’s elements that manage to feed my alleged obsession include:

1) The glamorous set. The giant Egyptian head that brings to mind King Tut may seem over-the-top, but it’s really in keeping with the tone of the show and probably a necessary counterbalance to the hostess’s blindingly shiny wardrobe. As you might expect from a show with gold in its name, there’s “GOLD, GOLD and more GOLD,” or at least something that looks like it, all over the set. My inner pirate loves when the kids from each family face off because the one with the correct answer gets to grab some pieces of gold from the bowl filled with large coins that look suspiciously like chocolate gelt.

Radhika Sarathkumar hosts Bangaram Mee Kosam
Game show hostess Radhika Sarathkumar exhorts viewers to go for the gold. (Swaathis.com)

2) The hostess’s glittering outfits. When contestants have asked her about her clothes during introductions, she has shared little details like the fact that the sparkly bits on her sari are actually Swarovski crystals. More of her (perhaps literally) stunning wardrobe as designed by Swaathis can be seen here. She is also usually decked out in enough gold jewelry for an entire bridal party.

3) The charming contestant introductions. These are much longer than what I’m used to from the game shows I grew up with like “Jeopardy!” and possibly my favorite part of the show. It’s not uncommon for family members ranging from grandma to baby to belt out a few notes of a favorite film song or bhajan in addition to introducing themselves and listing their hobbies, occupation and/or favorite subject in school. On one occasion, a contestant whipped out a small container of homemade sweets especially for the hostess. Delicious!

I don’t always know enough about the quiz topics to be able to play along, but you’ve probably guessed by now that the quiz portion of the show isn’t the main attraction for me anyway. Final verdict: Perhaps I am a little obsessed, but it’s only because this show is a solid gold hit!

Additional information: The Hindu, Rediff India Abroad.

October 5, 2006
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