Arts, Culture & Media

India's Real 'Slumdog Millionaire' is Spending His Money Wisely

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Credit:

REUTERS

Sushil Kumar (C) and his wife pose with Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan (R) after Kumar won about $1 million on an Indian game show in Mumbai October 25, 2011. Kumar, a government clerk from India's eastern state of Bihar, has become the first person ever to win about $1 million on the popular Indian version of "Who wants to be a Millionaire." Picture taken October 25, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA - Tags: SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT)

You may remember the 2008 Oscar Winning film "Slumdog Millionaire," set in India. Well last year, India had a real Slumdog Millionaire.

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28-year-old Sushil Kumar won a million dollars on India's version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire".

He became an overnight celebrity, and earlier this year, he was a contestant on the local "Dancing with the Stars".

Kumar says the win was a godsend. "Many of my problems were automatically solved," he said, "I feel it's miraculous. I never wanted to become a millionaire, God made me one."

So, a year since his big win, how are Kumar and his family doing?

Kumar lives in the small town of Motihari in the north-eastern state of Bihar.

He was a government worker, making about $100 a month before he became a millionaire.

But the only two luxury items Kumar has splurged on so far: a small tablet computer, and a power generator.

Power outages are pretty frequent in town, so he wanted to make sure his family would get a continuous supply of electricity.

You see, Kumar's still living in the same four-room house he shares with 10 other family members.

But that, too, is about to change.

He's bought land next door and is building a big house for him and his wife, his parents, and his brothers and their families.

Kumar's dad is still stunned the family can afford to get a gallon of milk at a time, and buy expensive vegetables.

Sushil Kumar has paid off his debts, and saved the rest, and he said he wants to spend his money wisely.

"After I won, I started getting letters asking for money," he said. "Pay for their operations, to buy land, give money towards their children's marriage. But in our society, if you help one person, thousands start coming. We only helped people we were close to. A million is a lot of money, but if you help everyone you'll lose it all in a day."

So that big house Kumar is building across the street will come in especially handy now.

The family is expanding.

Kumar's wife Seema—who he married not long before winning the game-show—is due to give birth soon.

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