Shailesh Kapoor: RIP, Dr Mashoor Gulati? We hope not!

24 Mar,2017

 

 

This is the 200thedition of ‘TV Trail’ by Shailesh Kapoor on MxMIndia.com. We are delighted with the insights the column offers and treasure our association with Shailesh and the column.– Ed

 

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

Shailesh Kapoor writes about how there’s a growing perception that Sunil Grover as Dr Mashoor Gulati, is more endearing than Kapil Sharma on the show.

The Kapil Sharma Show (TKSS) has been a runaway success thus far. When Kapil Sharma moved channels, many were sceptical about his ability to recreate the magic of Comedy Nights With Kapil (CNWK) all over again. Fatigue had already set in with the original show, and ratings were not exactly at their peak when it ended.

But the success of TKSS has been emphatic. The show has outperformed its precedent in several weeks. Buoyed by many repeat airings of the show, Sony has moved up to the #3 rank in the Hindi GEC category.

But there’s always the lurking danger of having a high-maintenance celebrity at the helm of a media property. Anyone who has interacted with Sharma on TV, films or ad work in the last two years will tell you how you have to tread on thin ice.Hence, what happened on a flight about a week ago, by all accounts, is not surprising.

There were similar but not-so-public tiffs during CNWK, when Sunil Grover had left the show. At that time, he was playing a character (Gutthi) which had screen space of 5-10 minutes in an episode, and had an appeal that was largely driven by a certain talking style. The novelty was bound to wear off at some stage. The Rinku Bhabhi avatar in TKSS is in a similar space.

But Dr Mashoor Gulati is not. He’s one of the most exciting comic characters on Indian television in recent years. There are episodes when his screen time is as high as 40 minutes, and his spoken lines outnumber Sharma’s. There’s a growing perception that Grover, in this character, is more endearing than Sharma on the show. Over time, this has also translated into a growing perception than Grover is more talented, versatile and spontaneous than Sharma as a comedian.

Grover’s popularity share in the non-fiction category on Ormax Characters India Loves has jumped from 7% in May 2016 to 21% in February 2017. In the same period, Sharma’s popularity share has been stagnant, hovering around the 40-50% mark. The show could lose its sheen overnight and simply disintegrate over time if Grover sticks to his very-public stand and doesn’t return to the show.

My mind is conflicted about what I would want the outcome of this crisis situation to be, if I could control it. Watching Dr Mashoor Gulati on TV is an absolute delight. But I connected instinctively with Grover’s heartfelt Twitter post. It takes a lot to put your career on the line. And unlike some of Sharma’s, it didn’t seem like a drunk tweet. So, it will be weird if Grover took a U-turn after that post.

Sony would do well to somehow come out of this crisis in a way that the show’s intact. If not, they must consider giving Dr Mashoor Gulati his own fiction comedy show. That can be one kickass funny ride.

Where does Kapil Sharma go from here is an equally interesting question. About a year ago, I wrote a piece here titled ‘Kapil Sharma And The Loss Of Innocence’. A year has passed and things appear to have gotten only worse. If there’s no return of innocence, we can be sure it will be an early end to the career of an immensely-talented comic star, who simply lost his way.

 

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