S'pore resident wins $122k on India's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, donates prize money to charity

Submitted by Stomper Shash

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He made it all the way to the 17th and final question.

A New Delhi-born Singapore resident won 7.5 million rupees (S$122,000) on the Hindi version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in India and donated the prize money to charity, including those affected by the pandemic.

Stomper Shashwat Goel, who works as a strategy manager at Shopee Singapore, was also the first and only contestant to attempt the final question worth 75 million rupees after having earned 10 million rupees on the TV quiz show hosted by Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.

Shash told Stomp: "When asked by Mr Bachchan on a high-stakes question what I would do with the prize money, I declared on national television that I would be donating the entire winning amount to charity in the form of NGOs (non-governmental organisations), orphanages, old-age homes and to those families who have been impacted by Covid-19 but are not financially strong enough in order to cope with the loss they suffered."

Alas, he got the final question wrong and went home with 7.5 million rupees.

Shash had managed to get into the auditions for the show in Mumbai a month before relocating to Singapore to join Shopee in June last year.

He got the call that he was selected for the show in July when he was in Singapore. He flew back to Mumbai to shoot his episodes on Sep 29 and Oct 1.

His one regret is that he did not have someone accompany him on the show.

"All contestants are allowed to bring along one companion to the show. If you get selected to play the quiz, then that companion is shifted to the companion's seat in the audience so that Mr Bachchan can interact with the companion as part of the show," explained Shash.

"Mr Bachchan's first question to me was to understand the reason my 'companion seat' was empty.

"I told him I had started watching the show with my family when it aired for the first time in the year 2000. My mother used to always tell me that it was her dream to see me in the Hot Seat."

Shashwat said that he had been applying to get on the show since 2013. Then in 2021, his mother died from Covid-19.

"Thus, after continuously trying for nine years, now that I finally got the opportunity to be in the hot seat, the person for whom I was doing all of this was no longer alive to see her son fulfill his mother's dream."

But he kept the companion seat empty as he believed his late mother's spirit was with him.

Before leaving the stage after winning the 7.5 million rupees, Shash went to the empty seat and sobbed.

A lighter moment was when Amitabh asked Shash about memes and Shash shared a couple of them featuring the host.

"Even at the age of 80, Mr Bachchan still carries the energy of a youthful guy," said Shash.

"He ensured to make me feel comfortable and is always on the lookout to learn from the younger generation despite having achieved so much in life."

Shash's episodes were broadcast on Oct 10 and 11.

In response to a Stomp query, Shopee Singapore said: "We admire Shash’s generosity in supporting the underprivileged with his prize money. It is inspiring and we are proud of his achievements."