Bhupi Singh brings merriment to Millionaire Hot Seat

By Indira Laisram
Bhupi Singh (L) on the Millionaire Hot Seat with host Eddie McGuire. Pic supplied.

Dressed in a traditional red and blue attire with a pagdi or the turban and carrying with him the dafli, an Indian musical instrument, Bhupi Singh, 70, exuded a colourful zest for life on screen. Appearing on the Millionaire Hot Seat on Tuesday night, host Eddie McGuire called him the ‘Tambourine man’.

For every right answer by him or the other contestants, Singh used his dafli for a clap. “He is going to drive me mad,” says McGuire at one point, with a laugh. Interestingly, Singh, who loves dancing to Punjabi music even got up during filming the episode and had everyone dancing along with him!

True enough, Singh brought merriment to the popular Channel 9 show, where contestants come with an eye for the coveted one million dollar. Of course, so far there has been only $1million winner on Hot Seat – Edwin Daly in 2006. There have been two winners on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Robert Fulton in 2005 and Martin Flood in 2005.

In a chat with The Indian Sun post the show, Singh says after he got through the selection process for the show, he went with the attitude that ‘whatever happens, happens’.

He was hoping his education would stand him in good stead. “I am a highly educated person and I was a high school teacher. I did not prepare myself just for this purpose.”

Bhupi Singh (L) on the Millionaire Hot Seat. Pic supplied

For Singh, the first question on the hot seat was fairly easy given that it was math related. But with the second question he gave it a pass regardless because, by his own telling, “I wanted to remain on the show for as much long as possible irrespective of the outcome. That was my only aim. Money is not everything.”

Singh says the questions put to him were not easy but not out of the world at the same time. He admits luck and nerves play a bit of a role. “You can be the smartest person but when you sit on that seat, it can be a different ball game,” he says, adding, “I was poor in the fastest fingers first.”

Singh got to attempt the $50,000 question but, unfortunately, he does not get the answer correct. He leaves with a 1000 dollar win and a smile.

Cherishing the experience far more than the win, he says, “I really enjoyed it. When I got selected, I was quite excited, naturally. We had to reach the sets at 7 am and everything was organised very well, it was relaxed and very impressive,” says Singh.

Of his host Eddie, he says, “He is a thorough gentleman, he always has something to say and something to lead on, that’s why he is probably so successful.” His regrets not having taken a photo with him though.

In normal times. Bhupi Singh. Pic supplied.

Millionaire Hot Seat is a game of strategy, skill and survival. Singh’s background reflects all of those. He came to Australia in 1973 from India to study a Master’s of Science and Chemistry on a scholarship. On completion, he got a teaching job in the small New South Wales town of Yass and after two years moved to Victoria where he continued teaching.

After a while, he was introduced to a chef and Indian cuisine, which was new in Australia those days, he recalls. As time went by, people advised him to learn the trade if he wanted to succeed lest he was left on his own- the best free advice ever offered, he claims. His catering company Phantom India has been in operation since 1984.

Singh’s advice to anyone who wants to get on the Millionaire Hot Seat is: “Just take it as easy, go to enjoy not necessarily to win, if it happens it happens.”

However, asked if he won the one million what would he have done, he replies with a laugh, “Give me the one million dollar and I can plan my life better.” On a more serious note, he says he would help those impacted by COVID-19 in India, something he is currently involved in.

“Helping someone is fulfilling,” sums up Singh.

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