Indian Man Wins $1M in Real-Life Slumdog Millionaire

Sushil Kumar, 26, is first in country to win top prize
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2011 10:32 AM CDT
Indian Man Wins $1M in Real-Life Slumdog Millionaire
In this Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, photograph, Sushil Kumar, left, with Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, shows $1 million check after winning on an Indian game show, in Mumbai, India.   (AP Photo)

In a case of life imitating Hollywood, a poor Indian government clerk won $1 million on his country’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. And the Slumdog Millionaire-esque tale gets more remarkable: Sushil Kumar, who comes from a desolate region of the country, is the first person to ever win the top prize on the Indian game show, the AP reports. "You have created history. Your grit and determination has made you come so far in this show," said the host as he handed a weeping Kumar a check for 50 million rupees.

Kumar, who had to answer every question on the show correctly in order to win, earned $120 a month working in a government office, and also worked as a tutor. Too poor to buy a TV, the 26-year-old watched the game show at a neighbor’s house prior to his Tuesday appearance. Those neighbors encouraged him to audition after seeing him often give the right answers. He says he will use his winnings to buy a home for his wife of five months, pay off family debts, help his brothers start businesses, build a library, and take a prep course for India’s civil service exam. If he passes, he could gain a better, more secure job. (More Slumdog Millionaire stories.)

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