Kolkata, Dec 13 (IANS) Bengal's love affair with Sourav Ganguly continues unabated. The flamboyant former cricket captain is back to his charming best - but this time as a quiz master on the popular Bengali TV show 'Dadagiri Unlimited.'
Sourav's witty questions and sharp repartees are on display Thursday to Sunday evening on Zee Bangla channel.
Now in its second season, the quiz show has given other prime time TV shows a run for their money. And West Bengal can't get enough of the latest avatar of the 'Prince of Kolkata'.
According to Zee Bangla officials, after the grand success of 'Dadagiri Unlimited' in its maiden season, with over 800 participants, season 2 has seen the programme gain a wider public appeal with more than 25,000 people coming for auditions from all the 19 districts of the state.
'The show has grown bigger this time. Sourav as an anchor has been accepted wholeheartedly. He has been excellent and the show is getting bigger day by day,' Zee Bangla's executive vice president and business head Sujay Kutty told IANS.
Dada's witty posers, along with a sprinkling of intelligent humour and pranks, have charmed both the participants and celebrity contestants like Shah Rukh Khan, Mithun Chakroborty, Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth and Shaan.
The participants, accustomed to seeing an aggressive and flamboyant Sourav, are enthralled to see the former team India captain cracking jokes and encouraging them to answer the questions.
'Earlier, I had never seen Dada so closely. It feels really great. He spoke to me. He enquired from which school I was, where I lived. This day will remain as the most memorable day of my life. He also gave me an autograph,' said Satdip Mukherjee, a participant from West Midnapore district and a Class 12 commerce student.
For his legion of fans who idolise him, it was a dream come true to chat with their beloved Dada.
'It was dream come true to talk with Sourav. It felt great to shake hands with him. I told him that once I went past his house in Kolkata but could not see him. Dada was excellent as an anchor,' Somnath, a medical student of R.G. Kar Medical College, told IANS.
Celebrities such as Shaan, Kunal Ganjawala and Bengali actress Rachana Banerjee had tough moments facing Dada's bouncers in season 2.
With Sourav as the host, can cricket be far behind? Thus, the quiz rounds are named Selection, Toss, Power Play, Cover Drive, Googly, Slog Over and Bapi Bari Jaa (Ganguly's war cry after hitting a six).
Clearly, the audience is not complaining.
'From Thursday to Saturday I leave all my work behind and sit in front of the TV to watch Dada's questions. Whether on or off the field, he will remain one of the greatest Bengalis,' said Gargi Dasgupta, a regular viewer.
(Pradipta Tapadar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)