Lifestyle & Belief

A real-life "slumdog millionaire" in India


Fifteen year old Sachin Kumar watches television in his home located in a slum near the site of the deserted Union Carbide factory on November 30, 2009 in Bhopal, India.


Daniel Berehulak

A young government worker from eastern India is being hailed as a "real-life slumdog millionaire" after winning $1 million on the Indian version of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” TV game show, the Associated Press reports.

According to the AP, Sushil Kumar, the prize winner, was earning just $120 a month from his job as a government office worker, and he supplemented his income by working as a private tutor in the town of Motihari in the eastern state of Bihar. Kumar told the AP he took his first ever plane trip on the way to Mumbai for the show's taping on Tuesday.

The show's host, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, revealed that Kumar had won the grand prize on his blog, AFP reports

"A young man from the interiors of Bihar, earning a meagre salary of just Rs 6,500 per month, coming from the most humblest of back grounds, reaches the Hot Seat and cracks the ultimate prize -- (50 million rupees)," Bachchan wrote.

The Times of India wrote that labeling Kumar a "slumdog millionaire" would be "an affront of sorts" — he has a postgraduate in psychology — but the paper conceded that there were parallel's with the hit film: the story of Mumbai teen played by Dev Patel in Danny Boyle-directed blockbuster -- [Kumar's story is also] a rags-to-riches story, his current job as a computer operator fetching him Rs 6,000 per month and his parents and four brothers so penurious that they live in a rented accommodation because the dilapidated ancestral house is mortgaged to a moneylender against a loan.

According to the Times, Kumar's episode is scheduled to air on November 2. 

Kumar told the AP he plans to use the winnings to prepare for India’s "tough" civil service exam. He also plans to buy a new house for his wife, pay off his parents' debts, help his brothers start small businesses and build a library in Motihari. 

Not bad, Sushil.