Earlier this year, Kapil Sharma got Sony to spawn a new show in his name, Family Time With Kapil Sharma. A few bad reviews and a tonne of online criticism later, Kapil’s show was cancelled after just three episodes. He reportedly stopped showing up for shoots and began peddling the ugliest abuses on Twitter. He threatened tabloid editors, appeared in CCTV footage of a Amsterdam grocery stores and filed lawsuits against people.
But as his new show’s producer Salman Khan knows well, India is the land of second, third and seventh chances. We are a tolerant bunch, especially when a star’s career is at stake. So after a gap of nine months, Kapil Sharma has returned once again to our television sets with The Kapil Sharma Show and thankfully for him, it’s just as childishly stupid as we always remembered it to be.
The new season brings back the old cast of Kiku Sharda, Chandan Prabhakar and Sumona Chakraborthy. New joinees include Bharti Singh and once upon a nemesis, Krushna Abhishek. The latest episode of The Kapil Sharma Show kicks off with the beats of the same old jagrata-style live band. Navjot Singh Sidhu takes his usual seat, ready to regurgitate a gallon of fake laughter should the host require him to. Luckily for him and us, the insufferable bits don’t last too long.
Kapil is still cracking the same old jokes about Kiku’s obesity and Chandan’s poverty and Sumona is still the ugly one. However, he seems to have learnt a lesson or two from last time and it is visible in how he treats Bharti’s character, calling her pretty and beautiful, something no one expected. It’s something fresh even if it is still unable to wriggle out laughs from the viewers.
The fiasco from earlier this year is not overtly mentioned in the beginning, but soon, Chandan or Krushna bring it up ever so slightly in the form of a mean joke. “Chalta show chorr ke ghar pe baith gae,” says Chandan, taking a jibe at Kapil while Krushna complains how the host always shuts down his shop whenever he does something new. Personally, I thought it was quite an acceptable way of handling it.
The episode takes a turn for the better when Ranveer Singh arrives to promote his film Simmba. Kapil pretends to be heartbroken about the actor’s wedding with Deepika Padukone in a long and overstretched bit. However, the jokes keep coming in and more and more people take witty potshots at Kapil. At one point, Chandan brings a really bad singer to sing a sad song for a broken heart and Ranveer joins in to torture Kapil. The harmless joke keep swelling into hearty laughter every time the singer repeats the chorus.
This isn’t true just for Ranveer or other celebs. Kapil’s observations about people in this audience and his quick comebacks have always been his strong points. It is when he decides to write a skit with his co-stars that things go so awkwardly wrong. The best recourse for Kapil is to design the show as a celebrity talk show, merely peppered with appearances from other cast members. And please, no more people in drag for comedy’s sake. Not without real talent at least. But I guess the request is already out the window. I spotted Krushna Abhishek in a bad wig just yesterday. After all he did say it on the show last night, “Paisa bahut badi cheez hai, izzat to jaati jaati rehti hai.”
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