No second glances here

No second glances here

No second glances here

The comeback of the 'Czar of Comedy', Kapil Sharma, with a reinvented show on Sony comes riding on more speculation than jubilation, for his previous outing was punctuated by plummeting TRPs, 'Guthhi' controversy, and weak humour.

The new name of the show, Family Time with Kapil Sharma, itself bespeaks how hard the Kapil brand is trying to regain lost ground by resurrecting itself - with a new name and a new game. The million-dollar question here is: is this just a new game template or a game-changer template? So, here's looking at whether Kapil's comic narrative does regale, or whether it smacks of a script stale 'n' pale.

The blitzkrieg of promos and teasers that the new Kapil show came riding on was suitably fuelled by not just what looked like a feeble sense of humour but also by a sense of rumour. For, it came riding and resonating with a tweaked version of the Shakespearean dilemma - will they or will they not reunite? This over-hyped dilemma obviously played upon the Sunil 'Guthhi' Grover-Kapil spat, sparking speculation about whether the estranged co-actors would bury the tit-for-tat to return together to power Sony's signature format.

But since this rumour was born more for grabbing eyeballs for the reality show than from any serious reuniting in reality, the show arrived not with a bang, but a depleted gang. Minus the original staples Sunil Grover, Ali Asgar & Co, who made an unceremonious exit from the show, and his trademark team in the previous season - Upasana Singh, Sugandha Mishra, Sumona Chakravarti & Co.

This brings us to the new faces and not-so-new faces that make up the reinvented show. First and foremost, that one signature face that imbues some sense of continuity to the shifting narrative surviving controversial exits is, of course, Sidhu paaji. Navjot Sidhu continues to be 'saving grace number one' of the show, making it a constant case of comic Sidhu-isms meet Kapil-isms.

Sidhu stays the 'crux-factor' despite many an 'ex-factor'. The other faces lending continuity are none other than Kiku 'Bumper' Sharda and Chandan Prabhakar. To make the feeble humour plumper, there thankfully comes Bumper. That Bumper surely lends weight to the weak narrative is summed up in his/her own boast, "Sony TV pe mujhe aur 'CID' ko aane se koi nahi rok sakta!"

The new glamour quotient of the show comes in the form of Kapil's co-host, Neha Pendse, who faces the huge responsibility of imbuing the show with more glam than Kapil's previous 'partners in primetime'. Neha brings to the show more of rising hemlines instead of uplifting punchlines, more of ensembles with frills rather than humour that thrills. To regain lost TRPs, the Kapil brand of comedy tries to resurrect itself by tweaking the template to make it a curious combo of comedy-chat-meets-game format. From the inaugural episode game changer, which featured opening star guest Ajay Devgn getting the first game of 'Ball transfer' rolling, to other games like 'Tasreef Rakhiye', which ropes in families to burst balloons by sitting on them, or the relay game entailing a face-off between brother duos who have to sport a 'kachha' and a 'skirt' after a balancing game, the game template tries to live up to the title of 'Family time' and infuse fun through a play format reminiscent of past game shows.

But at the end of the day, the new game format can hardly save a show whose narrative spells stale jokes that fall flat. Not only do the gags smack of comedy weak, there's not much chemistry in the Neha-Kapil cupid speak. It would thus be an understatement to call the show as 'old wine in new bottle'. Since it is so unabashedly unable to amuse full throttle, it would be more befitting to brand it as untold 'whine' in a new bottle!


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