Kings of comedy

Kings of comedy

Tele review

Kings of comedy

When a cult comedy show returns on telly in a reinvented form it comes riding on great expectations.

The return of the czar of comedy with The Kapil Sharma Show on Sony, after its exit from Colors, where it earned a cult status as Comedy Nights with Kapil, is thus marked by huge hype. But naturally, the question the new Kapil show raises is: will it be able to out class Comedy Nights with Kapil or will it end up being just old wine in new bottle?

The fact that imbues the new show with a sense of continuity is that Kapil’s entire original team has more or less been retained, with Sunil Grover, Ali Asgar, Kiku Sharda, Sumona Chakravarti and Chandan Prabhakar, and, of course, the off-stage showstopper, former cricketer Navjot Sidhu in the hot seat.

Those who were loyal viewers of Comedy Nights with Kapil would know that it owed its huge TRPs to the crazy Punjabi family it created as its USP, wherein Kapil played Bittu, Ali Asgar played his drunken Daadi, and the others made up his eccentric kith and kin. Another USP of the original show was that some of its male actors played female characters. Sunil Grover owed his fame on the show to Guthhi; Kiku Sharda became a household name as Palak etc.

Given this background, the new Kapil show arrives with a clean slate and does away with any continuity, by discarding his trademark Punjabi family. Instead, the new show sees Ali Asgar in varied roles of Kapil’s blind Naani, Begum and so on.

The Kapil Sharma Show thus sees the team in new roles and in new settings in each episode. While this may imbue the new format with freshness and novelty, it robs the new format of some character and continuity.

Seeing the huge hype surrounding the reinvented show and the great expectations riding on Kapil, it was but natural that the comedian wanted the curtains to go up with a bang. And who better to rope in to be the showstopper than Shah Rukh Khan, since the inaugural episode was staged in the country’s capital.

A new element in the Kapil brand of comedy was introduced in the form of political satire. While Kapil did well to engage the live Delhi audience with his potshots at the famous farmhouse weddings of Dilliwalas or by taking digs at the odd-even formula for cars launched by the Delhi government, when he or his team targeted the Delhi CM and cracked some Kejriwal gags, they were treading into tricky territory.

All this apart, the jugalbandi between the Badshah of Bollywood and the King of Comedy gave the show the much-needed grand opening as Kapil and Shah Rukh kept the live audience in splits.

But compared to the inaugural episode, the next episode proved a damp squib. While the comic talent of these actors has been proved in the original show and the cast is Kapil’s strong point, the change in format, which entails these comedians playing new roles in every new episode, may or may not prove to be an advantage.

Freshness of content, as much as the novelty of casting in each episode, will determine whether Kapil’s jokes sound stale or his punch-lines tell a new tale and his gags are something we can again hail.