Fifteen-years-ago in a cool October month, a quiet and unassuming but bright civil service aspirant from Mumbai took home the biggest jackpot on offer in Indian television history. He was Harshwardhan Nawathe – the first crorepati of Kaun Banega Crorepati.
Indeed, autograph hunters followed him, parties were thrown in his honour, everyone wanted him as their son-in-law; practically, he was a star.
“I lost my focus and didn’t take the civil services’ exam.”
After his return to Mumbai, Nawathe joined IL&FS, a financial service company, in November 2005. He became the state director of Naandi Foundation in April 2007 before becoming the COO of Naandi Community Water Services in November 2009.
He says that for the 10 days after his win, KBC staff put him up in a hotel under an alias. He was provided 24-hour security for the duration. This was done to ensure that the name of the winner is not revealed before the telecast of the event. (There was a gap of 10 days between shooting and telecast.)
Nawathe is now a married man with two children. His wife, Sarika, was a TV actress working in Marathi soap operas.
The life of Harshvardhan Nawathe makes for an incredible story in itself. The brilliant mind that helped him win the country’s most popular game show in TV history also helped him stay grounded and not squander everything away like Sushil Kumar.