Hotstar is one of India’s leading OTT platforms featuring TV shows from around the world, movie premieres and live sports and events. Last year, during the live telecast of the Indian Premier League, Hotstar introduced “Watch N Play”, a real-time cricket prediction game in which over 33 million unique users answered over 2 billion questions and won more than a 100 million rewards. This was done using Kafka as the backbone. Supporting millions of users with differing stream times & device latencies, we used topics to separate logical streams & partitions to support 1M requests/second. We’ll talk about how we reduced the end latency to make the user experience as real-time as possible. We’ll focus on the operational challenges that we faced and how we overcame them by building automation around it. We also have a war story around ghost topic creation where after deletion, topics would get magically created without any create topic requests. This led us to some interesting revelations and very important learnings of how long-living producers and consumers with short-lived topics are a recipe for disaster.