New Delhi: Sunmeet Kaur recently made history by becoming the first woman jackpot winner of Rs 50 million (Dh3.41 million) in the television game show Kaun Banega Crorepati Season 6.
Mumbai-based housewife, Sunmeet has been taking tuitions to keep herself occupied and at the same time adding to the family income. Her husband Manmeet Singh is a popular actor and model, who has worked in several films, including Band Baaja Baaraat and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. The couple have two daughters Harneet and Sehnoor.
Originally from Chandigarh, 37-year-old Sunmeet, says, “We have always believed in honesty and hard work and never ever even bought any lottery ticket to get rich overnight. All that I desired always and prayed for was my husband to get good films and projects and for me to get good tuitions and doing well in life.”
Sunmeet’s tuitions, it seems, worked for her, as she answered all the 13 questions on the game show. She says, “I was married at the age of 18 and was not able to study after Class 12. But my husband would often get me books to read and as they say ‘Education never goes waste’, it was put to good use when needed.” She speaks to Gulf News in an exclusive interview.
GULF NEWS: What has changed for you after the win?
SUNMEET KAUR: I remain what I was, but people around us have changed! Those who earlier ignored me have also begun conversing with me now. Party mood is on and people have been inviting us to their homes and giving us gifts. In addition, I have become busy and the house noisy at all times, as people swarm in and out.
What was the first demand that your daughters made after the windfall?
Both our daughters are very sweet and have not demanded anything. They said we must buy something for ourselves first, only then they will think of a purchase. Honestly, we have not had the opportunity to sit and discuss our needs and plans, as my husband has been keeping a busy acting schedule and I continue to teach as earlier.
Does it diminish your happiness a bit on realising that after income tax deductions, the actual amount that you will receive is going to be around Rs 35 million and not Rs 50 million?
No way! I am thankful to the Almighty for all that He has blessed us with. All our life we would never have imagined earning such a huge amount.
Since when have you been trying to get into KBC and on the hot seat?
I had been trying intermittently from the first season itself. But in between fell ill and had to undergo a surgery. So there was a gap period, after which I again pursued with determination and patience.
So, would you now say — tuitions are passé, it is time to start running a school?
I cannot think of starting a school, but running classes can certainly be deliberated upon. Four years ago, the time during my illness was very traumatic and tough on me and I used to feel quite depressed. That is when my husband suggested taking up some vocation to keep myself busy and happy. He always maintained that a positive attitude would help in my recovery. Ever since then, I have been teaching junior to Class 6 students.
After the win, has there been any kind of pressure on the mind or you feel more at ease?
There is no pressure whatsoever. My husband is a pillar of strength for the family and me and keeps guiding us. In fact, prior to our arranged marriage 20 years ago, he had asked me if I wanted to live as a friend or a wife. I opted to be a friend and have no regrets. For, from then on, he has not only been my best friend, but is also an extremely caring husband.
Having a house of her own is any woman’s first desire. What are your plans?
I am very keen on having a house of our own, but we do not want to take a decision in a hurry. We stay in a rented apartment in Andheri East and my in-laws have been living here for the past 40 years, so there are several fond memories attached to the place. We would love to purchase the same flat, but have yet to first ask the owners, if they would be willing to sell it.
Were you positive of winning a huge amount when you started from home?
No, not at all. But once there, my target was to win at least Rs 2 million to Rs 5 million. In fact, my husband had said that whether I reach the hot seat or not, even a meeting with Amitabh Bachchan would be a blessing. And I still cannot fathom how I kept answering the questions.
People say that a hug from Amitabh Bachchan is equivalent to winning millions. Was your experience in any way similar?
It certainly was. He is an amazing man and a very humble and down-to-earth person. Merely observing or interacting with him can provide people lessons for a lifetime!
As a mother, what advise do you give to your young daughters?
I have always believed and advise them to pursue their goals with dedication, as nothing is impossible to achieve. All of us have some quality in us and we should aspire to tap our potential. Success is bound to follow.
Sunmeet Kaur was born on April 17, 1975 in Chandigarh to father Amrik Singh and mother Satbir Kaur.
Educated at Shivalik Public School, Chandigarh – 1992.
Completed a dress-designing course from Chandigarh – 1993.
Got married to actor and model Manmeet Singh and came to live in Mumbai – 1993.