In 2003, I was representing MDI Gurgaon in University Challenge, a quiz show aired on BBC World (India) and hosted by Siddhartha Basu. This was the first time I was participating in a TV quiz show. A teams of 4 quizzers from a college/ institute would compete with another college and the winner would go on to the next round. The University Challenge experience was fun. Here are some things that remain etched in my mind...
I decided to call myself Venkata instead of Harish. My name is Bhamidipati Venkata Harish Kumar and I have always felt the Venkata has never received the attention due to it. This felt like a good opportunity to let Venkata have its time in the sun (or the arc lights, if you may). Siddhartha Basu once asked me to introduce myself at a college quiz in Delhi - asking me to say my full ‘four barrelled’ name.
I went for the buzzer for the first question of the first episode. And got it wrong. I had always fancied myself to be an aggressive buzzer-quizzer but after that first miss, I didn’t want to let my team-mates down with a stupid miss and stopped myself from going for the buzzer till the last episode when I buzzed for an audio question almost before the audio piece was even played. That tentativeness with buzzer questions has remained with me since then and I know for a fact, that I’d be much more adventurous with buzzers if I ever participate in a solo quiz!
The whole duration of the University Challenge show was probably the best time I had at my B-school - we’d have daily practice sessions where lot of our friends would ask us questions. The momentum that we built around quizzing finally resulted in starting the Quiz Club at MDI, Gurgaon - W5H.
Finally, for one of the episodes - we were asked to introduce ourselves in a unique way. After giving it a lot of thought, this was my introduction - ‘Hi! I’m Bhamidipati Venkata Harish Kumar. I have watched 132 out of the 138 films Amitabh Bachchan has featured in, till date.' And that is what connects the 6 films in the title : the first 5 I could not watch because none of the channels showed them or I couldn't find a VCD (they used to be the in-thing back then) and the last one I chose not to watch.