Bhubaneswar, October 22: Sunil Kumar Tandi, District Welfare Officer (DWO) from Sundergarh has become an overnight sensation ever since he was seen on the popular reality show Kaun Banega Crorepati, sitting right across the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, before pocketing a prize money of Rs 50 lakh on Diwali night.
It was a dream come true for Sunil when he finally reached the hot seat after trying for it for 17 long years!
Speaking to MCL, Sunil shared, "My first attempt was in the year 2000. That time, I was a student. Even after several attempts I failed to reach there. This was my sixth attempt and I am glad that I finally made it to the hot seat."
Sharing about his experience with Amitabh Bachchan in the hot seat, Sunil said, "I had a dream to meet Bachchan ji and that was the main reason to try my luck in KBC. When I got selected in the fastest finger round, I was shocked to hear my name. It took me some time to believe that I was really sitting on the hot seat in front of Bachchan ji. I was speechless for a while but the mega star helped me to deal with my nervousness and open up."
"The best part of the entire thing was when he was interacting with my family members specially me and my wife and was teasing us. My wife was very happy and seeing her happiness, I became more confident," he laughed.
When asked whether he was expecting to win Rs 50 lakh, Sunil said, "No, I never thought I would reach till the 15th round. I thought I would qualify a minimum of nine to ten rounds. There were some tough questions but thankfully I managed to handle them."
A native of Hathipara village in Balangir district, Sunil had completed his schooling from Navodaya Vidyalaya, Surangi in Ganjam district in the year 1993. He did his graduation from GM College, Sambalpur in Arts. Later he did his PG in Political Science (International Relations) from Sambalpur University.
Before joining as a welfare officer, Sunil used to work as Assistant Commercial Tax Officer in Sambalpur. In 2010, he cleared the Odisha Public Service Commission and joined as a special officer to Micro Projects at Belghar in Kandhamal district. He has also worked as a Programme Officer in Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme at Gunupur in Rayagada district and Special Officer to Integrated Tribal Development Agency at Baliguda In Kandhamal. "My father always encouraged me to read. So, I always tried to keep myself update with various information. Reading newspaper, magazines and books is a regular thing for me," he shared.
Sunil, who is now a celebrity is overwhelmed with the love and appreciation he has received from everyone. "I never expected this, I am really overwhelmed. The way everybody welcomed me in Sundergarh, I will always cherish that."
On being asked how he is planning to spend the money, he said, "Since now everybody knows that I have promised my wife to take her to Maldives, I have to fulfill her desire. I live in a joint family, so I have lots of other responsibilities which I have to take care and this money will be a big help. I also have to look after the children of my elder brother as he is no more."